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Campaigners protest against the 'collective expulsion' of Nigerian families

Stop Deportation | 29.04.2009 08:36 | Migration

Anti-deportation campaigners are today holding protests outside the Nigerian embassy and the Home Office in London to protest against the mass forcible deportation of Nigerian families and children. A joint charter flight, scheduled to leave London via Dublin this afternoon, will carry more than 20 families with children as young as one year.

10:45 sharp at the Nigerian embassy (9 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BX).

The protest, organised by the Stop Deportation Network, is calling for a halt of the 'shameful' flight and an immediate end to deportation charter flights. Similar protests are planned by other groups in Cardiff and Dublin.

Many of today's deportees are victims of torture, rape and female genital mutilation. A mother-of-two, who is due to be deported with her two young children and did not want to be identified, claimed she was a victim of violent human trafficking but her injuries have not been examined by a medical expert as her case was "not looked at properly." Another deportee, Sunny Michael, is being deported to Nigeria despite being a Sierra Leone national.

Kenneth Nwose Ubaka, a human rights activists who fled Nigeria in 2005 after being tortured and shot by the Nigerian military police, is among those to be deported today along with two of his children. His wife and their third child were absent when they were detained from their home in Sheffield by the immigration authorities. In a statement to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns yesterday, Ubaka said: "My 12-year-old daughter has completely lost her mind and has been put on self-harm watch [in detention]. She has been psychologically tortured having not seen her mother for about 10 days. She is in great fear and has not eaten anything for the past three days."

As one of the 'white list' countries set out in the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, Nigerian asylum applications are almost automatically dismissed by the Home Office regardless of the merits and evidence supporting individual claims. Cases certified as 'manifestly unfounded' under the Fast Track system are often not examined properly and claimants do not have the right to in-country appeal against the Home Office decision. With charter flights, claimants do not even have time or adequate legal representation to seek a judicial review.

Following a number of successful anti-deportation campaigns, the UK government is increasing resorting to the use of charter flights to deport refused asylum seekers outside the public gaze. This week alone, there are three such flights to Afghanistan, Cameroon and Nigeria, with another to Iraqi Kurdistan next week.

Campaigners argue that deportation charter flights amount to 'collective expulsion', which is prohibited under Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK government signed the protocol in 1963 but is refusing to ratify it.


1. The Stop Deportation Network is a newly formed network of groups and individuals around the country campaigning against deportation charter flights.

2. The Nigerian embassy is located at 9 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BX. The Home Office is located at 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF.

3. Details of the Cardiff protest, organised by No Borders South Wales, can be found at . Details of the Dublin protest, organised by Residents Against Racism, can be found at

4. The Nigeria deportation flight, PVT007, is scheduled to leave from an undisclosed airport to Dublin at 18:00, connecting with PVT008 to Lagos. The Afghanistan flight, PVT008, left Stanstead airport at 19:30 on Tuesday, 28th April. The Cameroon flight, PVT002, is scheduled to leave at 13:00 on Friday, 1st May.

5. Last February, a similar joint flight carried 89 men, women and children to Lagos. 45 were from the UK, more than 37 from the Republic of Ireland and seven from Switzerland and Germany.

6. According to Section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, a "manifestly unfounded" asylum claim is defined as "a claim which is so clearly without substance that it is bound to fail." It is possible, according to the Home Office immigration rules, for a claim "to be manifestly unfounded even if it takes more than a cursory look at the evidence to come to the view that there is nothing of substance in it." The 'manifestly unfounded' certification process is applied automatically to all asylum and human rights claimants that are entitled to reside in the countries listed in Section 94(4) (‘white list’), unless the Home Secretary is "satisfied that a claim is not manifestly unfounded." As of April 2009, the list includes Albania, Mauritius, Ghana (men only), Bolivia, Moldova, Gambia (men only), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mongolia, Kenya (men only), Brazil, Montenegro, Liberia (men only), Ecuador, Peru, Malawi (men only), India, Serbia inc. Kosovo, Mali (men only), Jamaica, South Africa, Nigeria (men only), Macedonia, Ukraine and Sierra Leone (men only).

7. In its 2009 World Report, Human Rights Watch maintained that Nigerian state security forces "continued to commit extrajudicial killings, torture, and extortion. Intercommunal and political violence, often fomented by powerful politicians, claimed hundreds of lives." The report can be found at

8. Article 4 of Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights states that the "collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited." For more details, see

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