The prison which was constructed in 1984 is struggling to cope with the increase in its prison population while it waits for construction of the new prison, funded by Turkey to be completed.
According to sources, the prison has a population of 584 inmates, 315 of whom come from 40 different countries. Of those who are foreign prisoners, 169 convicts and detainees come from more distant countries, many of whom are of African origin, and are students. Additionally, there are 146 from Turkey. The remaining 269 inmates are from the TRNC or are TRNC/Turkish dual nationals.
The fact that there are so many African students in jail has led to a call to revise the terms of “university standards”.
The Growth of Universities in North Cyprus has Become Big Business
In 2019, Cem Tanova, professor of Management in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), a public university in Famagusta, told University World News that:
“Northern Cyprus remains one of the regions with the lowest crime rates around the world and these incidents should not be used to paint a different picture.
“The fact is that in all these [murder] incidents [involving Nigerians] the suspects were quickly identified, arrested and brought before the court.
“Unfortunately, the Western media seems to enjoy depicting alternative, non-Western higher education destinations negatively … The truth is that there is indeed a success story about a location that has been able to provide affordable and accessible higher education in Northern Cyprus”, he said.
However, questions are being asked about the “uncontrolled” nature of student growth.
A rector of a university in North Cyprus who requested anonymity admitted to University World News that there had been “problems with foreign students at times, especially with African students“.
The rector said there were three main types of Nigerian students coming to North Cyprus. The first includes genuine students from relatively well-to-do families who may take part-time work and create no problems. The second comes with good intentions but does not have sufficient funds to study, and they have no financial support from their parents.
“Some of these students are misled by the agents who send them, believing that they can work and earn enough money to support their studies. Unfortunately most of these students are not able to pay their university fees after a few semesters and many of them drop out.
“These students are the ones creating the most problems. They get involved with gangs dealing in drugs and other illegal activities. Most European countries would deport these students in a short time. But authorities in North Cyprus are not well organised so these ‘students’ overstay and run into problems”.
A third type uses their student identity to enter the country to find work illegally or move to south Cyprus. “Some of these people also get involved in illegal activities“, the rector said.
Yeniduzen, University World News