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Home Secretary urged to save gay man from deportation

FIGHT: Olamilekan Ayelokun fears for his safety if he is deported to his home country

CAMPAIGNERS SUPPORTING a Nigerian man fighting deportation to his home country are urging the public to petition the Home Secretary.

Friends of Olamilekan Ayelokun have called for members of the public to plead with MP Theresa May for a last minute reprieve following recent news from the border forces to deport the 28-year-old tomorrow (October 10).
 
Ayelokun, who is gay, claims he fled Nigeria eight-years -ago to escape persecution because of his sexual orientation.
 
Last week, a judge ruled that the nursing student had overstayed a visitors visa and should be deported.
 
The judge refused to believe that Ayelokun was homosexual despite the testimony of three lovers.
 
A first attempt to deport him last week (Oct 3) failed, and he is currently being held at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre.

Ayelokun is scheduled to be deported tomorrow at 11.20am.
 
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said that Mr Ayelokun had lived illegally in the UK since 2003 and had only claimed asylum last year.

A spokesman added: "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."
 
His friends worry he will be killed if he is be deported to Nigeria as planned.
 
A close friend started a petition on change.org which now has more than 1,700 signatures.
 
Jason Feather told The Voice: “I heard he is to due to be deported to Nigeria on flight number is PVT090 at 11:20am this Wednesday."
 
Feather, who met Ola, as he is fondly known, last year. He said: “As well as articles in the UK press such as the Independent, articles have also started to appeared on a number of Nigerian websites which is worrying as this has effectively 'outed' him in Nigeria.

"I'm concerned now that they will arrest him, or worse, should he be sent back. In Nigeria, homosexuality is illegal and is punished in different states in varying degrees of severity.”
 
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."
 
Ayelokun's lawyer, Mark Taylor, is said to be applying for the case to be heard in the High Court.
 
The solicitor said he faced a "ridiculous" situation of trying to prove to the UK Border Agency that his client was gay.

"How judges or the UKBA feel that they are able to assess one's sexuality is utterly beyond me. If they are not prepared to believe him and his sexual partners I am not sure what test they are prepared to accept."

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