Nigerian Students in the UK Face Deportation Crisis Due to Unpaid Tuition Fees (Mercy Gilbert)

A growing number of Nigerian students studying in the UK, including those enrolled at institutions like Teesside University and the University of Sussex, are facing the grim reality of deportation due to unpaid tuition fees. The plummeting value of the naira has left these students struggling to meet financial obligations, forcing many to turn to food banks for sustenance. This situation has prompted a wave of despair and a feeling of abandonment among the affected students, who had hoped to find support through hardship funds.

To address this crisis, Edufund was launched last year in Abuja at the Yar’Adua Centre. Founded by Tosin, Francis, and Mercy Gilbert, Edufund aims to alleviate the everyday challenges faced by international students. As immigrants who grew up in the United Kingdom, the founders are acutely aware of the struggles these students endure. Edufund offers assistance with accommodation, visa applications, and flights, providing a lifeline for students far from home.

In a bid to raise awareness and funds, Edufund has organised a charity football match to support Nigerian students at risk of deportation. The founders urge benefactors to support these students, who are seen as future contributors to Nigeria’s development. “What Nigeria needs are skilled workers who can create employment and opportunities, not young people facing legal challenges and embarrassment abroad,” said Tosin.

Tosin, the driving force behind Edufund, has a long history of advocating for African students, dating back to his time as head of the African Society at the London School of Economics. Mercy Gilbert, a British politician and philanthropist, is a staunch advocate for women’s empowerment and believes in the transformative power of education. Recently, she hosted Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, in the UK and facilitated scholarships for African students.

Edufund aims to collaborate with First Ladies across Africa, alongside governments and governors, to provide scholarships and educational opportunities. Francis, the third founder, resides in Tanzania and is committed to youth empowerment and tackling unemployment. He emphasises the importance of giving students a “hand up, not handouts.”

One of Edufund’s beneficiaries, Efe, a final-year medical student, is gaining valuable experience through an internship while earning money to support her studies. This aligns with Edufund’s mission to provide skills acquisition and empower the youth.

Edufund is set to launch in London at the UK Parliament in July, hosted by Lord Boateng. The organisation welcomes all interested parties to join their cause in ensuring education is accessible and manageable for all African students in the UK.


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