Presidency denies claims that it abandoned 43 students in the US

The Presidential Amnesty Office said that the problem being faced by the students in America is to be blamed on the vendor company (Kaplan), which ignored the directive by the office not to fly them abroad.

Owei Lakemfa

The Presidential Amnesty Programme has denied claims making the rounds that it sent 43 ex-agitators to the United States in 2015, through a vendor, Kaplan International Colleges (KICL) and abandoned them without paying their tuition or allowances.

The Amnesty Office was recently criticised after it was alleged that 43 of its students were abandoned in a US university.

A statement by Owei Lakemfa of the Presidential Amnesty Office said that the problem being faced by the students in America is to be blamed on the vendor company (Kaplan), which ignored the directive by the office not to fly them abroad and went ahead to fly the 43 students out of the country

The company, according to Lakemfa also ignored the same directive earlier issued by the then out-going Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, who consequently directed Kaplan International not to deploy the 43 students abroad in view of the dearth of funds and resources in the Amnesty Office.

He also noted that the company on 9 June, 2015, equally ignored the management of the Amnesty Office, which met under the interim chairmanship of Mr. D.P. Tikolo, who also reaffirmed the decision not to send the 43 students abroad.

To justify its decision, Lakemfa said that the Amnesty Office, apart from the fact that Kaplan took the students to US without authorization, its fees are unrealistic, unaffordable and un-payable.

"Kaplan is charging for the one year pre-degree programme it carried out, an average N10,262,745.00 per student which comes to a total N496,200,000. This includes its charge of S17,000 per student for a ten-week Bridge Programme in the US.

"Its fees for the students in the American universities which come to an average of $75,000 each, is more than twice what the Amnesty Office pays for students in the same universities undergoing similar courses. Even the fees of IVY League Schools in US are far cheaper; for instance its leading light, Harvard University charges $43,983," he pointed out.

The statement, however, has said that the Amnesty Office has been informed and they had already sent a proposal to Kaplan International demanding for a 50 percent reduction in payments and fees, and relocating the students and their transcripts to local Nigerian universities on Amnesty Scholarship, while parents who insist their children remain in the US, can take over the payment of such fees.

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