Nigerian gay seeking asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) is among persons that are facing imminent deportation to their home countries.
The Guardian UK reported that mothers and grandmothers, some of whom have lived in the UK for decades, are among those facing deportation to Nigeria and Ghana on a controversial Home Office charter flight on Wednesday.
About 10 women suffering from severe mental health problems and are on anti-psychotic medication are part of those to be deported.
Among them is a Nigerian, Adeniyi Raji, a gay who fled Nigeria for safety and hopes to get asylum in the UK.
“I’m in the UK because I need protection. If I’m returned to Nigeria, they will kill me,” Raji said.
The Nigerian is not new to unusual times like this but fears this might be the end of his stay in the UK if he is deported to Nigeria where he has been getting death threats from some people in his Muslim-populated home community.
He faced deportation to Nigeria in 2017 but was later permitted to continue staying in the Uk.
Raji shared screenshots of death threats he had received from someone in Nigeria.
“So after all that we did to you before, you are still a practising homosexual. Wait until we see you down here, that will be the end of you,” a message from one of those threatening Raji’s life read.
Currently, Nigeria prohibits the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual) community.
Violation of the law would land erring persons about 14 years in jail according to the Same-Sex Prohibition Act signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan on January 7, 2014.
Despite the existence of the Same-Sex Prohibition Act, there had been reported activities of the LGBTQ community in some parts of Nigeria amid condemnation and extreme threats from a religious majority.
Alternatively, members of LGBTQ+ communities seek protection from the UK and other western countries where they are guaranteed protection under asylum policies.
In Raji’s situation, the Home Office said the deportation of asylum seekers is usually by court order after careful consideration of the situation.
“The UK only ever returns individuals to their country of origin when the Home Office and, where applicable, the courts deem it is safe to do so,” a Home Office spokesperson said.
“All asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered in accordance with our international obligations. Each individual assessment is made against the background of relevant caselaw and the latest country information.
“The New Plan for Immigration will fix the broken immigration system and expedite the removal of those with no right to be here.”