By Sunday Oyinloye
Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Olufemi Michael Abikoye has visited three Universities in Ghana in continuation of his diplomatic shuttle to get a better deal for Nigerian students studying in the country. The institutions are Webster University, Wisconsin International University College and Central University.
Ambassador Abikoye received at Webster by Mrs. Christa E. Sanders, the Campus Director and other officials from the School. While at Wisconsin by the Vice Chancellor, Mr. Nicholas S. K. Appiah; and at Central University by Vice Chancellor Prof. Bill Buenar Puplampu.
In the three institutions, Abikoye made case for downward review of tuition fees paid by international students particularly Nigerian students in the spirit of ECOWAS.
Besides, he sought for better welfare of the students in terms of accommodation, transportation and advised that there should be an arrangement between the universities and airlines for rebate tickets for Nigerian students wishing to travel.
Since assumption of duty in 2017, the Ambassador has visited nine out of the ten regions in Ghana where he interacted with Nigerian students in many institutions. He has persistently canvassed for downward review of tuition fees which has been most challenging for students and their parents. For this, he has gotten positive result in almost all the institutions
The High Commissioner informed the management of three institutions that Nigeria has about 170 universities , out of the number 79 are privately owned stressing that due to the large population, these Universities are not able to accommodate the teeming youths seeking admission every year, hence the resolve to study outside the shores of Nigeria.
Abikoye therefore urged the management of these institutions to do more as to secure larger percentage of the youth seeking admission. He also assured the management of Webster University that he was working closely with the Ministry of Education in Nigeria in getting the issue of their accreditation resolved.
In their remarks, the Campus Director of Webster University, the Vice Chancellor of Wisconsin University College and that of the Central University commended the High Commissioner for taking time to visit their institutions.
They disclosed that the Nigerian students in the institutions have been well behaved. However, the management of Wisconsin revealed that there were some concerns initially, as some of the students were involved in cultism and other “unspeakable acts” adding that such acts have been curbed by the management of the institution
While interacting with Nigerian students’ at Webster, the High Commissioner urged them to be studious and get certificates not only in learning but also in character and be good Ambassadors of Nigeria.
At the Central University, the High Commissioner informed the students that part of his mandate in Ghana was to deepen the relationship between the two countries adding that another prime mandate was to look into issues of welfare of Nigerians including the students. Abikoye assured them of government’s support for their welfare but was quick to add that they should not do anything that could tarnish the image of Nigeria.
In his words “I want you to be good ambassadors of Nigeria and never to do anything that could tarnish the image of our country. On our part at the High Commission, we operate an open-door policy; you are welcomed to discuss your challenges with the High Commission for appropriate intervention”
Some students who spoke with Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable commended the Ambassador for always” clamoring and negotiating for better treatment of Nigerians in Ghana” and challenged Nigerian Diplomats in other countries to adopt Abikoye’s style for better welfare of Nigerian citizens wherever they live.