Six Nigerian students cancel trip for Robotics Competition in South Africa

The six Nigerian students that will represent the country at the Africa Robotics Challenge (ARC) in South Africa on Sept. 28 have cancelled their trip to the country for safety.

The students announced the cancellation of their trip at a news conference on Monday in Lagos, saying that the organisers had failed to guarantee their safety throughout the competition.

The students are Tirenioluwa Shobande, 18, a 100 level Systems Engineering student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG); Ifeoluwa Aigbiniode, 15, of Yaba College of Technology Secondary School, and Jeffrey Nwafor, 15, of S-TEE International School.

Others are 19-year-old Kolawole Olatunji, a 100 level Computer Science Education student of Lagos State University (LASU), Toluwanimi Akinola, 15, Dansol High School and Aromolaran Dominion, 14, Supreme Education Foundation.

The National Coordinator, Mrs. Remi Willoughby, said that the organisers had informed her of their inability to provide adequate security and guarantee the safety of the students while in South Africa.

Willoughby said the organisers hinted that while in South Africa, the Nigerian competitors would neither disclose their nationality nor will they be able to go out for sightseeing for the duration of the competition.

According to her, the host says that the event will not be given publicity and that no one else will be invited to witness the competition.

“This competition we are supposed to go for is Africa Robotics Challenge, it is a product of the first Robotics Challenge which we have been going for in the last few years. We planned to go to South Africa for this robotics competition which is supposed to be for few African countries and would have held on Sept. 28″ she said.

“However, we will not be attending because of the situation in South Africa currently” she added.

“And the fact that I cannot personally guarantee the safety of the students while there, and with our host telling us that even if we come, it will not be announced. That we have to come quietly and we will not wear our Nigeria T-shirts and that the bus that will convey us will not display our logo of Green, White, Green, so how can we proudly showcase our country?” she explained.

According to her, beyond the host not guaranteeing safety, there is the need to support our brothers and sisters who have not been treated fairly in South Africa. She added that attending the competition would also be like a betrayal of trust; we are also glad the parents of the students agreed that it was not safe to make the trip.

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