By Abdulhamid Mukadam Saifullah
Recently, there has been a lot of condemnation and discussion around an interview one Tiamiyu, a UK based youtuber, had with BBC. In the interview, he claimed that Nigerians seeking to pursue education in the UK mainly take the study visa as an escape route, and do not really prioritize the education and degrees.
While the statement may hold some truth and also be largely/mostly untrue, Nigerians seem to be taking it too far. More concerning is that these people are not worried about what may be untrue about the claim, their primary concern is around how Tiamiyu ‘ratted’ them out. One would wonder what is there to ‘rat out’ though. See attached screenshots.
Many blame him for the UK government’s ban on Nigerian dependents. But is this really the case?
1). The policy does not solely target Nigeria and Nigerians. Other countries and nationalities are also affected. Was Tiamiyu’s statement about Nigerians the reason for also banning student dependents from other countries?
2). The UK government announced the ban on Tuesday, 23rd of May, while Tiamiyu’s interview with the BBC was aired on Wednesday, 24th of May. Does it make sense to say that what Tiamiyu said on the 24th influenced a decision made public on the 23rd?
3). So, the UK Prime Minister or government listened to Tiamiyu’s interview and thought to themselves, ‘You know what, this Tiamiyu guy is right, now let’s ban these people’?
When it may indeed be possible for anyone and even a government to get new revelations or see situations through new perspectives following an individual’s exposé, it didn’t take a Tiamiyu for the UK government to consider the ban.
Now, let’s discuss what really motivated the ban.
Data shows that the number of Nigerians granted study visas increased by 768.7% to 59,053 in 2022, from 6,798 in 2019. During the same period, the number of dependents rose by 3,741.3% to 60,923 in 2022, the highest in the UK, compared to 1,586 in 2019.
This established that the number of dependents of Nigerian students surpassed the number of students themselves. Furthermore, these dependents accounted for nearly half of the total 135,788 students dependents in the UK.
When we look at the proportional change in visa grants to dependents by nationality, Nigeria witnessed a significant increase from 19% in 2019 to 51% in 2022.
Data gave the UK government a reason to act, not Tiamiyu, and it was a measure to control the trend. The media however needed a more sensational justification, and Tiamiyu gave that to them.
So don’t blame Tiamiyu for what he did not do, blame Nigerian students in the UK for always taking their generation with them as dependents.
They won’t watch anyone abuse and turn their immigration system into a joke.
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