Ailing Nigerian PhD Student In UK Faces Deportation Over Unpaid School Fees

A Nigerian student at Newcastle University with stage five kidney disease faces deportation from the United Kingdom over failure to pay her accumulated doctorate degree fees.

Sue Agazie, who was diagnosed in September 2023 has been asked to leave the UK by 20 July or make a new application to stay, BBC reports.

Agazie, however, said her inability to pay for high quality healthcare in Nigeria means being sent there is like a “death sentence”.

The university said “all international students are subject to strict Home Office rules” but it would not discuss individual cases.

Agazie, who is married with one kid, is one of two students who have made an official complaint over alleged promises made to convince the pair to study in the UK.

She said her supervisor promised her funding when she was recruited which did not come to realisation and therefore resulted in her being unable to pay her fees.

Describing her predicament, the woman said the past year has been “the most difficult of my life”.

She was diagnosed with stage five kidney disease in September 2023, meaning her kidneys are close to or have completely failed. She is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.

“I have to check my blood pressure almost every two or three hours,” she said..

According to her, being sent back to Nigeria will rather aggravate her ordeal as she does not have the money to get high quality healthcare for her disease in Nigeria.

She has been told she, along with her six-year-old child and husband who came to the UK as her dependents, must leave the UK by 20 July as she has not paid her PhD fees.

Agazie argues the university did not need to immediately report her to the Home Office as her inability to pay her fees is directly linked to her complaint.

The university said it must “legally follow sponsor immigration guidance, informing United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of certain changes”.

Agazie is currently using foodbanks as she is being confronted with over £2,000 of debt for her university accommodation.

She says the university has not taken her disability seriously and been actively hostile to her.

“I’ve been really surprised by the way the university has treated me.

“This is not what we were told – it is not the way British universities are sold to us in our country.

“The university is meant to protect and support me.”

The university is currently investigating Agazie’s complaint.

“Throughout the process, we offer additional support to our students through our Student Health and Wellbeing Service,” a university spokesperson said.

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