The National Association of Nigerians Students (NANSI has slammed the Godwin Emefiele-led Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for suggesting that foreign students were one of the reasons the country’s currency was performing poorly at the forex market.
Emefiele stated at the 57th Annual Bankers Dinner hosted by the Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos that the United Kingdom will issue significantly more visas to Nigerians in 2022 alone.
The governor of the apex bank noted that the number of student visas granted to Nigerians by the UK increased sharply from an average of about 8,000 per year in 2020 to almost 66,000 in 2022, indicating an eight-fold increase and $2.5 billion in annual forex outflow for study-related purposes to the UK alone.
He claimed that the action had severely strained Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves and the Naira.
However, NANS in a statement released by its PRO, Yisa Giwa, on Monday asked the apex bank to stop blaming students for the failures of the Nigerian government.
The union argued that the increased move by students to pursue their education abroad was a reflection of the rotten education system which the ruling Nigerian elite had continued to supervise.
“We watched with dismay a video of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele at the 57th annual bankers’ dinner where he stated that the perpetual fall of the Naira is because of the increase in the number of Nigerian students pursuing their education abroad. This, for us, in the National Association of Nigerian Students is a one excuse for failure too many for the Governor of the CBN.
“To start with, the continual move of Nigerian students to pursue their education abroad is a reflection of the rotten system which the Nigerian ruling class has continually supervised with individuals like Emefiele as the head of fiscal policies. It should be remembered that for the vast majority of 2022, Nigerian students were at home because of the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“This is not the first time we have experienced strike action from the different staff unions in our tertiary institutions. This is in addition to the decaying infrastructure and the increasingly frustrating academic system at play in the country.
“Hence, by seeking to pursue their academics abroad, the mass of Nigerian students are escaping the rot of the academic system. The CBN Governor cannot blame Nigerian students, rather, he should hold those he has enabled in the executive to turn a blind eye to education responsible.
“We would also want to remind Mr. Emefiele that the Naira has fared badly under his watch, and he would be remembered as the CBN Governor who supervised the consistent fall of the Naira. Since Mr. Emefiele came to office, the Naira has continued to lose its value.
“Mr. Emefiele claims that the Naira is losing value because of the increased number of Nigerians going to study abroad, but we would like to ask him how the Naira fared even before the number of Nigerians studying abroad skyrocketed.
“We would like to admonish the CBN Governor to use the remainder of his term to draw out fiscal policies that would save the Naira and stop the blame game. Else, history would not be kind to him and his term in office would be remembered more for its failures.”