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Amnesty Office distances self from overseas students ordeal


The Amnesty Office (AO) has rejected claims by some parents that it abandoned some 43 students in the United States of America, failing to pay their fees and welfare.

Communication Consultant, Owei Lakemfa told The Guardian on telephone last night that the Amnesty Office is not responsible for the stranded students.

Lakemfa explained that the students were taken outside the country by the consultant firm, Kaplan without the knowledge of the AO and has refused to return them to Nigeria even though the AO has written Kaplan twice to return the students.

The AO Consultant explained that shortly before the former AO chairman, Kingsley Kuku left office, 51 students had been enlisted for the scholarship programme, which was to take place for nine months in Lagos.

“The Lagos programme is like an A level. 43 of the students came out successful. That was when this administration just came on board last year. And because Kuku did not want to incur expenses for the new administration, these students were placed on hold.”

“But against the directive of the AO, Kaplan went ahead and enrolled the 43 students for the three months overseas programme without Kuku’s approval. They booked their flight. The Amnesty officials had to go and remove the students from the plane. But Kaplan went behind, paid $160,000 to rebook the students and flew them out of the country.”

“Another angle to the story is that Kaplan is charging the Amnesty Office N350 million for the 51 students for the nine months Lagos programme. It is also charging $17,000 per student for the three months programme in the US of which they did 10 weeks. For those enrolled in schools in the US, Kaplan is charging an average of $75,000 per student in schools where we have other student beneficiaries for whom we pay as less as $30,000.”

“How can we pay $75,000 per student in schools where we have other students doing similar courses and we pay $30,000? Kaplan’s charges are too exorbitant. We have written them twice to return the students to Nigeria or slash their charges by half but they have refused,” Lakemfa said, maintaining therefore, that the Amnesty Office is not responsible for the 43 Kaplan students.

It would be recalled that parents of the 43 students had on Friday raised the alarm that their children are now being treated like prisoners of war (PoW) in America. They appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to save the lives and education of their children.

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