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Blind university student faces deportation

PICTURED: Bamidele Chika Agbakuribe (Change.org)

A BLIND student from Nigeria who faces being deported from the UK has said he and his family will be destitute if they return to the country.

Bamidele Chika Agbakuribe, a PhD student, has claimed that Dundee University failed to provide him with adequate support and withdrew his student status after he made complaints about the facilities, treatment and lack of support and supervision.

The university contacted the Home Office informing it of Agbakuribe’s change in circumstances – his cancelled student status – and he and his family are set to be deported on June 5.

Agbakuribe paid tens of thousands of pounds to Dundee University to study but instead of the “state of the art” facilities for disabled students that he was promised, Agbakuribe said he was supplied with “failing IT equipment”.

“I had such high hopes of Scotland, to study at this university. The university received tens of thousands of pounds from myself and my sponsor. But despite the promises, I received no such support, not even proper supervision, and in the final analysis, they branded me a failure,” Agbakuribe told The Guardian.

He added: “I have never been allowed to state my case. This is the most shocking part. I am expected to stay quiet and go back home.”

In a statement shared by Positive Action in Housing, a homelessness and human rights charity that is supporting the student, Agbakuribe said: “I need my PhD certificate so that I can return to Nigeria and rebuild my career and provide for my family. If I return without it I must repay tens of thousands of pounds to my sponsors TETFund. My family and I will be left poor and destitute because I sold my house to part fund my studies. I will be shamed in front of my peers, I will be known as the man who went to Scotland and returned a failure.”

Agbakuribe’s four children attend schools in Dundee and his eldest child is due to sit exams.

The Guardian reported that it has seen a testimony detailing similar experiences from another blind student at the university.

Dundee University has denied Agbakuribe’s claims and said it was disappointed the situation has not resulted in a more positive outcome.

In a statement it said: “Any degree, particularly a doctorate, is a mark of academic achievement and therefore requires high academic standards. On occasion, and even with dedicated support, individuals are not able to reach the high academic standards that it is incumbent on us to set as a university.”

“The recent case is one of those occasions: an international student had not satisfactorily met the academic requirements of their studies, despite extensive support. In these situations, an academic decision is made on an individual student’s likelihood to succeed on the basis of their academic progress to date.”

Dundee University also states that it provided personal support at the cost of several tens of thousands of pounds, including a provision of a sighted guide and sighted reader support and IT equipment.

A petition has been created calling on stop the deportation of Agbakuribe and his family.

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