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    Nigerian Students Sue Alabama College for Treating Them ‘Like Animals’


    Alabama State University got millions to educate and house exchange students who say they were charged more and given less.
    Godsgift Moses, Promise Owei, Thankgod Harold, Success Jumbo, Savior Samuel, and 30 more Nigerian students came to America hoping it would be the promised land.
    It’s only fitting that “Opportunity is here” is the motto of Alabama State University, where they got full scholarships from a Nigerian government fund for four years of education. Instead of getting opportunity, they say the school took their country’s millions and used the money to discriminate against them.
    In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court, 41 Nigerian nationals—many of whom are now Alabama State University alumni—allege the school overcharged them for books and meals, enrolled them in classes they never took, and more, all because they were black foreigners.

    “They called us cash cows,” said Jimmy Iwezu, an ASU alum who claims the university intentionally mismanaged millions from a scholarship fund set up by the Nigerian government that was paid in advance for every exchange student. “I’m a black man and I’m proud to be black, but I felt discriminated against.”
    The 37-year-old social work grad cites the school’s self-proclaimed autonomy to do whatever it wished with the seven-figure sum Nigeria prepaid back in 2013 for some 41 students to go to the school.
    Attorney Julian McPhillips, who brought the lawsuit to court for the second time—the first attempt, back in April, accused the school of breaching its contract with Nigeria and was dismissed—suggests ASU violated Title VI civil rights.
    The students allege they were shorted their deserved monies by ASU “because of their Nigerian national origin,” according to the lawsuit.
    McPhillips contends the school hammered the students with exorbitant “billing” and weren’t “being treated like other students” when the school allegedly inflated the costs of staples like books and room and board, and repurposed the funds to pay for the school’s “bond issues” and to help front costs for “a new stadium,” and, ironically, a center for civil rights awareness.
    “The school acted in a really disingenuous way and were self-serving,” McPhillips told The Daily Beast.

    While most college students are permitted to bargain shop for textbooks wherever they wish or dine at different establishments beyond the school cafeterias, the Nigerian nationals at ASU, according to the federal complaint, were boxed in.
    The lawsuit claims “they were not allowed by ASU to spend this money, but instead the money was credited towards certain expenses the students incurred, or towards other expenses ASU incurred that were unrelated to the students.”
    “The school compelled us to buy books from the book store and eat only at the cafeteria,” Iwezu said. “I tried to make them understand, ‘Hey, we don’t want to live in the dorms anymore, and we don’t want to eat our entire meals at the dorms.”
    He said greed trumped reason.
    “They want our money,” he said, adding that the surcharge to live on campus was raised specifically for him and his Nigerian counterparts. “They make us pay $3,000 [a semester] to live in the dorms, and that is more than a mortgage on homes in this area.
    “Enough is enough.”
    Godsgift Moses, Promise Owei, Thankgod Harold, Success Jumbo, Savior Samuel, and 30 more Nigerian students came to America hoping it would be the promised land.
    It’s only fitting that “Opportunity is here” is the motto of Alabama State University, where they got full scholarships from a Nigerian government fund for four years of education. Instead of getting opportunity, they say the school took their country’s millions and used the money to discriminate against them.
    In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court, 41 Nigerian nationals—many of whom are now Alabama State University alumni—allege the school overcharged them for books and meals, enrolled them in classes they never took, and more, all because they were black foreigners.

    “They called us cash cows,” said Jimmy Iwezu, an ASU alum who claims the university intentionally mismanaged millions from a scholarship fund set up by the Nigerian government that was paid in advance for every exchange student. “I’m a black man and I’m proud to be black, but I felt discriminated against.”
    The 37-year-old social work grad cites the school’s self-proclaimed autonomy to do whatever it wished with the seven-figure sum Nigeria prepaid back in 2013 for some 41 students to go to the school.
    Attorney Julian McPhillips, who brought the lawsuit to court for the second time—the first attempt, back in April, accused the school of breaching its contract with Nigeria and was dismissed—suggests ASU violated Title VI civil rights.
    The students allege they were shorted their deserved monies by ASU “because of their Nigerian national origin,” according to the lawsuit.
    McPhillips contends the school hammered the students with exorbitant “billing” and weren’t “being treated like other students” when the school allegedly inflated the costs of staples like books and room and board, and repurposed the funds to pay for the school’s “bond issues” and to help front costs for “a new stadium,” and, ironically, a center for civil rights awareness.
    “The school acted in a really disingenuous way and were self-serving,” McPhillips told The Daily Beast.

    While most college students are permitted to bargain shop for textbooks wherever they wish or dine at different establishments beyond the school cafeterias, the Nigerian nationals at ASU, according to the federal complaint, were boxed in.
    The lawsuit claims “they were not allowed by ASU to spend this money, but instead the money was credited towards certain expenses the students incurred, or towards other expenses ASU incurred that were unrelated to the students.”
    “The school compelled us to buy books from the book store and eat only at the cafeteria,” Iwezu said. “I tried to make them understand, ‘Hey, we don’t want to live in the dorms anymore, and we don’t want to eat our entire meals at the dorms.”
    He said greed trumped reason.
    “They want our money,” he said, adding that the surcharge to live on campus was raised specifically for him and his Nigerian counterparts. “They make us pay $3,000 [a semester] to live in the dorms, and that is more than a mortgage on homes in this area.
    “Enough is enough.”
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