In the midst of a swirling controversy, recent statements made by Emdee Tiamiyu, a Nigerian Youtuber and known advocate for Nigerian students considering pursuing their education in the United Kingdom, have attracted an array of criticisms. His contentious comments were made during an interview with the esteemed British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Emdee Tiamiyu is typically recognized for his constructive advice geared towards assisting Nigerians who are weighing the option of studying in the UK. However, he dropped a bombshell during the interview, stating that many of these individuals were not actually interested in furthering their education, but were rather seeking an opportunity to emigrate and begin a new life abroad.
According to Tiamiyu, the motivation for many of these aspiring students is less about pursuing advanced degrees and more about seeking an alternate pathway out of Nigeria. He is quoted as saying, “The student route is more like an answered prayer. It is a big bracket that’s able to take a lot of people, the ordinary people.” He went on to add, “We’re beginning to see that a lot of people just hide behind the studentship. So the student thing is not real, it’s not like they need the degrees.”
The interview took place against the backdrop of forthcoming changes to UK immigration policy, set to be implemented in January 2024, that will place further restrictions on Nigerian students, and other international students, regarding bringing dependents with them to the UK, except under specific circumstances.
A significant change under the new rule will be the elimination of the option for international students to transition from their student visas to work visas before they have completed their studies. This policy shift is designed to prevent any potential misuse of the UK’s visa system.
In response to Tiamiyu’s controversial stance, many Nigerians have voiced their displeasure, arguing that his remarks have potentially compromised the prospects of individuals who genuinely wish to study in the UK. He has been labeled as a clout chaser by some, accused of seeking popularity by making sensational statements.
One notable reaction came from Francis Ebuara, a Twitter user, who stated, “Dear BBC, Nigerians have been made aware of a video showing your interview with one “Emdee Tiamiyu,” who claimed that Nigerians do not go to the UK because they need the degree. For the avoidance of doubt, your interviewee has spoken strictly for himself and not for Nigerians.”
Other users chimed in with similar sentiments. User Bizzle criticized Tiamiyu’s remarks, describing them as “unhealthy” and asserting that he had created a negative historical record that the internet would never forget. Bizzle suggested that Tiamiyu should have shown more restraint rather than expressing his thoughts in such a jubilant state of mind.
Additionally, Daniel Regha, another Twitter user, rebuked Emdee Tiamiyu harshly, calling him a “mindless clown.” Regha asserted that instead of addressing misconceptions about Nigerians, Tiamiyu had knowingly thrown his compatriots under the bus, all for views and cheap popularity. Regha lamented the ignorance displayed by Tiamiyu, hoping for karmic retribution.
Furthermore, Omolomo accused Tiamiyu of exploiting the same system he later sought to hinder others, while Wanjukay characterized Tiamiyu’s interview performance as foolish. Wanjukay highlighted the significant contribution of Nigerian students to the UK economy through post-graduate studies, condemning Tiamiyu’s stereotype-driven and conclusion-jumping behavior as destructive and fueled by greed for YouTube views.
This controversy serves as a stark reminder of the deep consequences one’s words can have, especially when aired on platforms of global reach like the BBC. While it remains to be seen how this saga unfolds, the discontent among Nigerians about Tiamiyu’s comments is evident.