Nigerian government officials see inspirational NTU student graduate
29 July 2013
A Nigerian NTU student, who provided Christmas dinners for dozens of fellow international students unable to return home for the holidays, has received a prestigious vice-chancellor's award.
Betty Alali Odema received the award - for the quality of her academic work, her contribution to internationalism of the University and her support for fellow overseas students – during the annual graduation ceremonies, watched by senior government officials who had travelled from Nigeria.
The vice-chancellor's awards are given annually to one person from each of the university's nine schools.
University lecturer Imad El-Anis, who nominated Betty, said: "As well as the excellent work for the course and work to boost internationalism, she mentored and supported fellow overseas students.
"In 2012 she prepared and sold different African foods to raise more than £1,600 for a student struggling to pay tuition fees.
"And every Christmas since 2010 she has personally funded, cooked and organised Christmas Day dinner for fellow international students unable to travel home to their families for the festive season.
"Betty has been a real inspiration."
The international relations student said: "I was overjoyed when I heard that I had been selected for the vice-chancellor's award – I called everyone I knew.
"My dissertation was on Niger-Delta Conflict. That's the area I am from and I would like to build a career working for the government or a government agency in the region to really make the most of the skills I have learned during my time at Nottingham Trent University."
She was one of five students from the African nation to have their education sponsored entirely by the Rivers State Sustainability Development Agency, part of the state government.
The visitors from Nigeria who watched the graduation included the agency's executive director Mr Noble Pepple, the Rev Precious Omuku, the Honourable Joseph Poroma, the Honourable Ibiso Nwuche, Mr Godwin Poi, Mr Kingsley Uranta and Mrs Imah Adegoke.
Victoria Crane, former director of Nottingham Trent International College, attended the graduation as Betty's guest. The college prepares overseas students for study at university.
Betty was joined by fellow graduates Auxwell Bank Ozuru (economics), Godstime Ugele (law), Esther Wahu (accounting), and Daniel Nlemogu (law).
Four more Nigerian scholarship students – Thankgod Nnadi (business management), Pia Promise (computer engineering), Adibaal Ibo (business management) and Sotonye Davies (law) – will graduate later this year.
Sponsorship was provided by the Rivers state governor's special overseas scholarship programme, created to provide first-class education for students with disabilities from the south-western region of Nigeria.