Custom Search 1

Campaign to save gay Nigerian who faces deportation

AT RISK:Olamilekan Ayelokun

NEARLY 2000 people have signed an online petition to support a gay Nigerian asylum seeker, who fears he might be killed if deported.

Olamiekan Ayelokun claimed he fled Nigeria eight-years -ago to escape persecution because of his sexual orientation.

However, a judge at Bradford’s Immigration Court has stated that he is not convinced Ayelokun is gay and ordered for his deportation last week.

The 28-year-old was supposed to have been deported to Nigeria on October 3. However, that decision has been delayed until further notice.

A friend of Ayelokun’s, Jason Feather, who started the petition to prevent him from being deported, told The Voice :

“I have been told that the Nigerian authorities do monitor international news. If he was to be taken to Nigeria now the authorities would know he is a gay man. In the south, he would get up to 14 years in prison and in the north where Sharia law is practised he might killed.”

More than 1700 people have so far signed the petition asking immigration officials to change their minds.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said Ayelokun a nursing student who now resides in Bradford had lived in the UK illegally, having overstayed a visitors’ visa that expired in 2003.

He put in an application to stay in the country in 2011, at that point he was then required to sign every week.

Ayelokun was detained on September 25th after a routine appointment at the UK Border Agency’s Waterside Court offices in Leeds.

A UKBA spokesman told The Voice : “Mr. Ayelokun lived in the UK illegally for eight years, having overstayed a visit visa that expired in 2003.

"He did not claim asylum until 2011, after he was arrested by UK Border Agency officers for using false documents to gain employment.

“At no point has he been able to provide sufficient evidence of his sexuality, and our decision not to grant him asylum has been upheld by an independent immigration judge.

“Where people do not have the right to be in the UK we will take steps to remove them.”

However, Ayelokun’s friends and supporters, whose petition is on change.org, have rejected the UKBA's claims.

They said UK immigration officials are breaching the European Convention on Human Rights by “sending someone to a situation where he or she has a ‘real risk’ of being subjected to ‘torture or an inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’”.

Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is also supporting Ayelokun. He told The Voice : “Regardless of his past mistakes, Ola should be given asylum on the grounds that if he is returned to Nigeria he will be at serious risk of homophobic persecution. It is outrageous for any judge to suggest that a person who has a number of gay relationships is not gay.

"This case is further evidence of the way Britain asylum system abuses refugees. The system is rigged to fail as many asylum seekers as possible regardless of their individual merit."

He said: “The coalition government is not living up to its pledge to provide a safe haven for gay Africans who face victimisation. It is a betrayal of (Prime Minister) David Cameron’s pledge.”

Annual subscription for The Voice newspaper print edition.

Read more stories like this in our weekly printed newspaper. To purchase an annual subscription and get 50% off, complete the form below and enter the code 'ONLINE2017' - offer ends 30 November.

* indicates required
() - (###) ###-####
Facebook Comments