Final year students in various universities in the United Kingdom, studying under the Niger-Delta Amnesty Educational Programme, have protested the denial of visas by British authorities to enable them complete their programmes.
The students, particularly undergraduates of Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Campus, and Portsmouth University, who are from Bayelsa State, called on the federal government to intervene in order to save their future.
The angry students, who protested in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, at the weekend, said the reason the British Embassy gave for their visa denial was that the Amnesty Office under Goodluck Jonathan’s administration did not pay for their tuition and other relevant fees.
They said the embassy told them that the Amnesty Office could no longer be trusted as it failed to honour the conditions that bound their programmes.
Letters issued to the students by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration Office, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent, indicated that the Amnesty Office could not be relied upon to fulfill its obligations as an official sponsor of the programme.
The authorities said in the letter “The Special Adviser on Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, has failed to pay tuition fees and other allowances of students, thereby contravening the agreement which stipulates that tuition fees and other allowances of students must be promptly and regularly paid.
“The office of the Special Adviser on PAP has been blacklisted, meaning that any student under the sponsorship of the said office would not be granted visa for the continuation of their programmes.”
The students said the Amnesty Office had on August 13, issued a letter informing them of their offer of a fully funded scholarship to enable them extend their visas for the completion of their studies, but the letter was allegedly rejected.
A statement issued by the affected students and signed by Mr. Young Ikoromo and Mr. Ebiotu Ndoni, both of the Department of Human Resources, blamed their predicament on the past administration’s insensitivity and non-chalance towards their wellbeing.
The students specifically put the blame on the ex-Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, saying he allegedly failed to do the needful while he held sway.
They appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their rescue as they do not have the N3 million each allegedly required by embassy officials to procure their new visas.
They, however, lamented that failure to meet the 28 days deadline which expires towards the end of November would completely ruin their academic pursuit which they had laboured for more than three years.
They also called on the current Special Adviser on PAP, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), to keep to his promise of resolving their problems to enable them return to their various schools and complete their programmes in 2016.

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