Nearly 100,000 Nigerian students have registered in UK universities over the course of five years- says Interior Minister

Nigeria’s Interior Minister, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has recently unveiled a staggering statistic: over the five-year period spanning from 2017 to 2022, a substantial cohort of 99,985 Nigerian students made the significant choice to pursue their academic aspirations in various programs offered by universities in the United Kingdom. These figures, drawn from data provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), are indicative of a notable trend.

However, Minister Tunji-Ojo was keen to emphasize that this exodus of students should not be viewed solely as an unfavorable drain on Nigeria’s educational landscape. Rather, he argued that it presents an opportunity for reflection and action. The key to reversing this flow, in his opinion, lies in a two-pronged approach: firstly, a concerted effort to reform and enhance Nigeria’s own education system, and secondly, addressing the prevailing security concerns in the nation. By doing so, Nigeria can create an environment that not only retains its own students but also attracts foreign students and faculty, thus fostering cross-border relationships and collaborations.

Speaking at the inauguration of the international week conference at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Minister Tunji-Ojo stated, “While many may contend that the majority of these students have simply ‘JAPA’ for various reasons, we cannot deny the fact that a significant portion of these students embarked on this journey with the noble intention of expanding their knowledge for self-advancement, ultimately contributing to national pride.”

He also highlighted the existence of scholarship opportunities for over 100 Nigerian students pursuing postgraduate and PhD degrees abroad, illustrating that Nigeria plays an active role in supporting its citizens’ academic aspirations. These students, he asserted, serve as ambassadors of Nigeria, carrying its identity and contributing to its global reputation.

Minister Tunji-Ojo affirmed his ministry’s unwavering commitment to facilitating genuine partnerships between Nigerian academic institutions and their foreign counterparts. This collaboration, he stressed, is vital to ensure the continued universality and excellence of Nigeria’s university system.

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