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‘Government must resume sponsorship of students, give loans’

The Vice Chancellor UniAbuja, Prof Micheal Adikwu (middle) and other dignitaries at the Diaspora Conference in Abuja recently
The Vice Chancellor UniAbuja, Prof Micheal Adikwu (middle) and other dignitaries at the Diaspora Conference in Abuja recently

The Dean Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja, Prof Effiok Uwatt, has said with the teeming number of Nigerian students, government must go back to the days of sponsorship and granting of loans to students.

Prof Uwatt, who spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at the Diaspora Conference tagged ‘Where is Home: Nigeria in Diaspora/Diaspora in Nigeria’, organized by University of Abuja in collaboration with University of Muenster, Germany, said all these are things of the past as students no longer get sponsorship.

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He said as a result, when they get to school, they find it difficult to cope and some of them resort to criminality in order to exist.

The don noted that the aim of the conference was to educate Nigerians on the ills of migration.

“Most of the people who migrate out of this country are students because of the hardship in the country. Some can hardly afford school fees, even those in school today you find students who cannot afford one square meal,” he said.

According to him, even with so many universities in the country, the teeming number of youths today find it difficult to get admission. “In spite of the universities we have and those who have the opportunity to get admission, many cannot afford to pay their fees, so I believe government should find solution to the problem,” he said.

Prof Uwatt maintained that unless government concentrates on creation of industries to create employment for the teeming number of students, they will continue to migrate.

Speaking on the implication of students’ migration, UniAbuja Vice Chancellor Prof Michael Adikwu said many after finishing their studies, either as students or visiting scholars or postdoctoral fellows, did not return.

“I remember in those days students from Nigeria used to go to overseas for language programmes in Germany and France. This was later halted by the government because students failed to return home at the end of their studies,” he recalled.

Prof Adikwu said that reduced productivity at home as vital labour force was lost through what is commonly called brain drain.

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