UK deports 23 Nigerians
The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) yesterday deported 23 Nigerians over immigration-related offences.
The deportees arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMlA), Lagos about 6am yesterday aboard a chartered plane.
The deportees, all males, have been resident in UK for years.
It would be recalled that 83 Nigerians were also deported in February.
Spokesperson of the Lagos Airport Police Command, Joseph Alabi, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the development.
The deportees were received by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Police and officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Immigration authorities profiled the deportees before they were allowed to leave for their respective destinations.
Earlier in the week, activists in Stansted blocked the runway to stop the deportation flight to Nigeria and Ghana.
Last year, some 35 mass deportation charter flights departed the UK, forcibly removing people from their homes in Britain to countries, including Nigeria, Pakistan, Albania and Ghana, according to a local magazine.
No one wants to be forcibly removed from a place of comfort and that is the case of several deportees, who were to be sent to Ghana and Nigeria from the UK.
According to reports by UK media outlets, about 14 activists took to the tarmac at one of London’s busiest airports.
The campaigners locked on to each other and formed a pyramid structure, using tubes and chains, vowing not to leave until a flight carrying the deportees was cancelled.
The charter flight was due to fly asylum seekers and migrants to Nigeria and Ghana, but many on board argue that their lives would be in danger should their return go ahead.
“Both of my parents are in the UK; they are British,” wrote one of the deportees on a blog, Detained Voices.
“I have been here, with them, for over five years. But the Home Office wants to send me back to Nigeria,” the 21-year-old asylum seeker, who said has his brother and grandfather were killed in Nigeria, wrote.
“The Home Office say I cannot stay here with my parents anymore. My brothers are here. I am in fear to go back to Nigeria; there is fighting over land. They killed my brother. They killed my grandfather.”
“I claimed asylum, which was refused, because of my sexuality. I am a lesbian, who is not ok in Nigeria,” read another post.
A woman, with British parents, who was also on the flight, said she has no family in Nigeria and a doctor has declared her unfit to fly.
A band of activist groups, including End Deportations, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and Plane Stupid planned the demonstration.
“We have taken this action because many people on this flight are being placed in serious danger by being callously deported back to Nigeria and Ghana.
“There has been a lot of attention recently on (United States President Donald) Trump’s racist Muslim ban, but what is happening in the UK is equally repellant,” says Emma Hughes, a member of End Deportations, who took part in the airport protest.
He said: “People are being rounded up in the middle of the night based on their perceived nationality, forced on to planes in undisclosed locations and strapped down in their seats, with no one witnessing the violence they are facing.
“Do we really want to live in the sort of society where these violent and secretive mass deportations are being normalised?”
According to Susan James of Plane Stupid, mass deportation has been taking place in the UK since 2002.
“The act is a symptom of the UK’s hostile immigration polices,” she was quoted as saying.
Mass deportation flights are just one aspect of the British immigration detention and removal system.
The UK is the only nation in Europe in which migrants can be detained indefinitely.
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