Deported Nigerian students to return to U of R
Victoria Ordu, Favour Amadi to continue at University of Regina 8 months after their deportation
Two Nigerian students are heading back to school in Saskatchewan after being deported for violating the terms of their visas.
Victoria Ordu and Favour Amadi arrived at Regina International Airport Saturday night after leaving eight months ago.
They were greeted by their friends and supporters who they say they are very thankful for.
"It's still like a dream to me you know. It still hasn't set in yet. We're very, very happy to be back here to complete our education," said Amadi.
The two will start classes at University of Regina the day after Canada Day, according to Kay Adebogun, senior immigration counsel for the women.
Before their arrival Saturday, Adebogun confirmed to CBC News the Canadian government allowed the women back into the country.
The women's plight began in 2011 after they received deportation orders from the federal government.
For a few weeks that year, Ordu and Amadi had worked at a Walmart in Regina. Both said they did not realize it was against the rules of their student visas to work in Canada.
For more than a year, the women took refuge in four different city churches after learning they would be forced to leave the country.
On October 11, 2013, the two returned to Nigeria voluntarily in the hope that doing so would allow them to return to Canada later.
While the women took sanctuary, they received a lot of support from people in Saskatchewan. Rallies were held to raise support for them last summer.
Since then, the Canadian government has changed its policy and as of this month, international students with study permits are allowed to work off-campus.
At the time of their departure, University of Regina president, Vianne Timmons, met Ordu and Amadi at the airport and vowed to help the students come back.
Timmons was again at the airport Saturday evening to welcome them back to Regina.
"We really wanted to see them get their education. For a young woman from Nigeria it's critically important that if you get the opportunity to get an education it will change your life. And it will change your children's lives," said Timmons.
Their story also drew the attention of Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, who took their case to the House of Commons last fall and said the women should be allowed to stay.
At the time, the federal ministers responsible did not concede, despite the outcry from the women's supporters.
Return to University of Regina
Adebogun told CBC news the women's Nigerian government scholarships have also been reinstated.
"They're so happy to be back, and looking forward to starting their studies. And above all, very very grateful to everyone who helped them one way or the other to ensure they can come back," said Adebogun.
He is unsure where the women plan to live or if they will pursue part-time work once they arrive.
A welcoming event for the women is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. CT in the Ad-Hum pit at the University of Regina.
A comment from Canadian Border Services Agency was not immediately available at the time of publication.