At least 50,000 Nigerians have signed a petition calling on the United Kingdom (UK) home office to either remove Nigeria from the list of countries whose citizens are required to take English proficiency tests or reduce the fees charged for the examination.
The petitioners argue that since English is Nigeria’s official language and the first language for many people here – a legacy of British colonial rule – the country should be exempt from the test.
The UK requires the citizens of any country willing to relocate to the country for work or study opportunities to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.
Ebenezar Wikina, Founder, Policy Shapers said the campaign became necessary after observing that many Nigerians had lost opportunities because they could not afford the cost of the test despite having tertiary education in the English language.
Using hashtags like #ReformIELTSPolicy, #IELTS, and #TOEFL, many Nigerians who took to the social media handle, Twitter, have accused the UK of commercialising the test. The test cost U.S.$200 and is only valid for two years. It can only be taken in 12 cities across the country.