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Policies, agents, language barrier threaten education of Nigerians in Northern Cyprus

By Ngozi Egenuka
21 August 2023   |   4:04 am
Following the controversies and the forewarning issued by the chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, over the alleged maltreatment of Nigerian students in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus..

Fifth Global NGO Executive Committee Director, Olasumbomi Iginla-Aina (left); the Minister of Education, Nazim Cavusoglu; a former student of Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), Victor Olaniyan; and other Nigerian and African students leadership in Cyprus as they converged to tackle issues on the welfare of Nigerian-African students in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

…Nigeria tops international students’ list in TRCN with 12,941 students

Following the controversies and the forewarning issued by the chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, over the alleged maltreatment of Nigerian students in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRCN), the Minister of Youth State of African Diaspora and Director, Global NGO Executive Committee (GNEC), Olasubomi Iginla-Aina, has advocated the welfare of Nigerian students in Northern Cyprus.

Olasubomi Iginla-Aina said that based on findings from her visit to TRCN stakeholder engagement, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive on transfer policy topped the list of challenges the students faced, which has led to the deportation of a number of them.

She urged the Nigerian government to strengthen diplomatic ties with the TRCN as Nigerians top the list of international students in Cyprus with a total number of 12,941 students.

President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), TRCN, Opeoluwa Ojekemi, on the CBN directive said, the policy has negatively impacted Nigerians studying in Northern Cyprus, for the settlement of their fees, rents and other needs.

He also criticised the role of fake agents in propagating false information about immediate employment upon arrival.

Explaining in Lagos last Wednesday, Olasubomi Iginla-Aina, said: “The government of Northern Cyprus, Nigerian students and the University authorities complain about these false agents, who are raising the expectation of Nigerians yet to arrive.”

She said that there are not many rooms for such opportunities given the size of the country. She also added that many of the students have had to indulge in illicit activities due to the misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding job security and access to other European countries.

On the latter, she complained that the government of Northern Cyprus and university authorities have observed that a number of admitted students do not show up for lectures, having been brainwashed by these agents.

On issues bordering on language barrier, Olasubomi Iginla-Aina, stated that Nigerian students lamented that some public servants lacked basic understanding of the English language, thus, casting a strain on communication.

She, however, confirmed that lectures were given in English Language. Highlighting the impact of language barrier on the students, she said: “This often poses a challenge and widens the communication gap between them and public officials.”

The minister also addressed the complaint over the payment of Healthcare Insurance to cover health services in the public health sector, which are mostly abandoned for private hospitals, for fear of unprofessionalism.

She said: “After paying this money, one would expect there was a contract, to provide health services should the need arise, but unfortunately, the public healthcare system is not reliable even for citizens,” adding that a lot of the students patronise private healthcare services, which is quite expensive.

The Minister also added that deportation rates will increase as persons with fake IDs will be detected with the improved Information Technology (IT) system in the immigration services of Northern Cyprus.

The NANS President also stated that the Island was a safe haven for students to learn, with high quality education system, low crime rate and a tourist friendly destination.

He listed institution accreditation, affordable tuition fees, cultural diversity, safe and trouble-free zone, qualitative education, medical insurance and prevalence of rule of law as some of the things that international students need to know about Cyprus.

He further noted that the Island has many universities where over 100,000 students from various countries study, even as he revealed that the number was exponentially growing every year. “All universities in Northern Cyprus are accredited by the Ministry of Education in Turkey and equally recognized worldwide,” he added.