Protest

Protest in Peckham against Mass Deportation to Nigeria

[PRESS RELEASE 31/01/2012]

Protest in Peckham against Mass Deportation to Nigeria

 

On Thursday evening Anti-deportation campaigners rallied in Peckham to condemn the mass deportation of Nigerians scheduled later that night (26 January 2012). The demonstration was a small tribute to a man on an 8-day hunger strike in protest against his deportation.


Protesters from the “No Borders” network brandished a banner demanding “Stop Deportations To Nigeria” and played music as they marched from Peckham Rye Station to the Library. The protest was well received by the largest British Nigerian community signalling a positive start to an outreach campaign aiming to raise awareness and forge links with local people. Passers-by shared stories of their personal struggles against the inequalities of the border system. One man explained that the UK Border Agency detained him for a year and deported his brother despite both living in Britain since childhood.

Just hours before the deportation an inquiry by MPs was published that warned potentially lethal force and racist language is used by security guards during the removal process [1]. And on arrival in Nigeria, these men and women face a deteriorating security situation spreading from the north as Boko Haram increase in strength. Human Rights Watch claim that the militant Islamist group killed 235 people in the first 3 weeks of 2012 [2].

 

Mass deportation has become regular policy in the governments efforts to “crackdown on immigration”. Deportations to Nigeria happen every 6 weeks with 75 people forcibly deported by 150 private security guards on a plane specially hired by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Each flight on average costs £150,000 of public money. UKBA uses mocking and sinister code-names for these deportations such as ‘Operation Majestic’ , whilst using coaches branded ‘Just Go’ to drive deportees to the airport. Since 1991 six Nigerians have died during deportations from Europe – the highest number of fatalities from any one nationality- demonstrating the deadly nature of these operations. Most recently, Nigerian man Joseph Ndukadu Chiakwa died on a deportation flight from Switzerland [3].

 

During previous deportations angry scenes have erupted outside the Nigerian High Commission in London. In December 2011, the High Commissioner was ambushed by No Borders activists who called on him to stop collaborating with UKBA. Nigerian Immigration staff have been issuing emergency travel documents that the UKBA need to remove people [4]. The fee charged for this service is unknown.

A No Borders activist invited people to take part in the No Borders Convergence: a week-long gathering in London between 13 – 18 February 2012. He said: “From Monday to Wednesday at Goldsmiths College in New Cross, south east London, there will be workshops about stopping deportations, resistance in detention, migrant workers struggles, reports from the borders (Calais, Greece, Palestine…) plus films and food! Then from Thursday there will be 3 days of demonstrations, finishing with a “No Borders Carnival” from St Paul’s at midday on the Saturday” [5].

[Ends]

 

Contact: respect.nigerians@gmail.com

Twitter: fcukba

No Borders London http://london.noborders.org.uk/

More information on mass deportations www.stopdeportations.wordpress.com

 

“The Nigerian community makes up the oldest Black community in the United Kingdom. Over 200 years ago some of the earliest Nigerian arrivals found themselves in London as a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade.”

BBC [6]

———————

Sources:

1 Parliament http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/news/120126/

2 Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/01/23/nigeria-boko-haram-widens-terror-campaign

3 Institute of Race Relations http://www.irr.org.uk/2010/october/ha000028.html

4 You Tube “Nigerian High Commissioner in London turns his back on deportees”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H32i3WUIneE&feature=player_detailpage

5 No Borders Convergence http://london.noborders.org.uk/convergence2012

6 BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/05/26/nigerian_london_feature.shtml

Violent protests, oil spills and bombings grip Nigeria

New Year of Chaos and Resistance Across Nigeria

  • Mass protests erupt as oil subsidy removed
  • Worst oil spill in a decade in Niger Delta
  • State of emergency declared over Boko Haram terror attacks

Hundreds of protestors have taken to the streets and burnt tires in cities across Nigeria in a bid to shut down roads and blockade petrol stations. These angry demonstrations come as the price of fuel more than doubled overnight, from 65 Nira to 141 Nira. President Goodluck Jonathan’s suddenly removed the $8 billion oil subsidy for petrol on  New Year’s Day. Several protestors are believed to have been killed in clashes with police, who used tear gas and other weapons against the crowds.

Nigeria is oil rich but most of its citizen remain extremely poor. Nigeria exports so much of its oil without refining enough for domestic use, that it has to import fuel for its citizens to use. The oil subsidy was essential to keep fuel affordable for ordinary Nigerians, and widely regarded as their only benefit from the oil beneath their feet.

Finance minister and ex-World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is alleged to have pushed hard for the subsidy removal. Citizens aren’t inclined to trust government officials who claim the money saved from the oil subsidy will be well spent. Years of deeply rooted corruption and mismanagement have resulted in profound distrust of government officials in Nigeria, which is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most corrupt nations. [Source: Al Jazeera]

Nigerian human rights activist, Femi Falana, was seen at the front of protest marches as major city highways were closed. Falana recently condemned the Nigerian government’s collaboration with Britain over a ‘prisoner transfer scheme’, which will mean Nigerians serving sentences in British Jail will be deported on mass to do their time in Nigeria.

To add insult to injury, only last week saw the largest spill of Nigerian oil in a decade, by the multi-national Shell. Bonga oil field, an offshore site operated by Shell, leaked an estimated 1.68 million gallons through a damaged transfer hose to a tanker. [Source: Sunday Vangaurd]

The President had also declared a state of emergency in 15 local government areas covering Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Niger State. This was in response to the wave of bombings by Islamist group Boko Haram. An explosion on Christmas day killed an estimated 47 worshippers at a Catholic Church and no less than 52 people were shot on New Year’s Eve outside a Police station.

Meanwhile, I anticipate the British Government will continue its regime of mass deportations to Nigeria every 42 days without batting an eyelid.

Protestors confront Border Agency staff over mass deportation to Afghanistan, as resistance spreads across the UK!

Protestors confront Border Agency staff over mass deportation to Afghanistan, as resistance spreads across the UK!

On Monday 19 December, the UK Border Agency carried out a mass deportation of Afghan asylum seekers to Kabul.

No Borders North East organized a demonstration on the 19th of December 2011 at the UK Border Agency (UKBA) Northumbria Building, in North Shields, Tyne & Wear, UK.

They raised awareness towards a Charter flight, which was later due to depart that day. After demonstrating outside, activists then attempted to directly contact UKBA staff that had the authorization to determine the flights departure.

This follows a wave of autonomous action in the UK against charter flights. On Thursday 15th December, activists in West London had organised a protest against a UK charter flight to Sri Lanka and struck at the heart of the Government’s “unjust deportation machine”, when they blocked the road outside Colnbrook and Harmondsworth immigration prisons with ‘lock-on’ devices and a tripod. On Thursday 8th December, protestors ambushed the Nigerian High Commissioner in Central London over his support for a mass deportation to Nigeria scheduled for later that evening.

Charter flights are a numbers driven exercise to remove as many people as possible. They are conducted under a veil of secrecy which denies deportees access to justice. With the secrecy surrounding charter flights it is impossible to know how many other deportees on this, and other flights have been similarly denied access to justice and equality.

The  UK asylum determination system is structured towards denying as many applications as possible. Because of this, people who are in need of sanctuary are refused status, made destitute and subjected to violent enforcement procedures. Charter flights such as this one and forced removals in general must be stopped.

Afghanistan is not safe

With regard to Afghanistan, just 2 weeks ago, Human Rights Watch reported:

Conflict-related violence remains a daily reality in many parts of the country.’

[Human Rights Watch – Afghanistan: A decade of Missed Opportunities 4 Dec 2011 http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/03/afghanistan-decade-missed-opportunities ]

The United Nations also has also raised concerns about conditions for people returned to Afghanistan:

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that a significant number of all returnees (potentially 40 per cent) are still in need of reintegration support and that many (potentially 28 per cent) are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.’ 

UN, The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, 09/03/2011. http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/1226_1300285687_n1125034.pdf
Yet the UK Border Agency ignore these reports in favour of out of date country evidence which supports their claim that Afghanistan is a safe place.

Stop Deportations

Forced removals such as this are an illustration of the violence and indifference that are essential components of the UK’s dehumanising migration regime. The vast majority of deportations have been to countries devastated by wars and armed conflicts such as Afghanistan, Iraq, DR Congo, Nigeria, Jamaica, Sri Lanka. After being forcibly deported, many have been kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and killed. Others have had to change their identities or move again to avoid persecution. Forcible deportations tear apart people’s lives as they are split from their families and communities and their right to freedom of movement is denied.

Stop Deportations! Freedom of Movement for all!

More on Afghanistan:

UK Government, on the Foreign and Commonwealth office’s website, states that Kabul is not a safe place:

‘No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts.’

‘The kidnap threat throughout the country remains high, particularly against local nationals.’

‘We advise against all but essential travel to Kabul. There are regular, indiscriminate rocket and bomb attacks in the city.’[1]

UKBA’s own Country of Origin Information Report on Afghanistan in 2008 stated ‘It is not difficult to track people down in Afghanistan…

congo protests

Congolese community demonstrate in London

Congolese Community Demonstrate in London

Massive police operation in central london (10/12/11) to control a passionate but mainly peaceful protest by up to 1000 congolese people which began in whitehall, spreading to trafalgar square, and with further breakaway groups marching through the west end. mainstream coverage has been minimal.

REPOST. See full article here http://london.indymedia.org/articles/11271

Today’s protest follows two others this week, with serious clashes between police and hundreds of protestors outside downing street on tuesday, and on thursday evening oxford circus was closed down for a while, and police arranged for an empty train to ferry protestors to seven sisters station for dispersal in tottenham.

but you’d be hard-pressed to find much about these events on bbc or other mainstream media other than a brief report of 143 arrests this evening, with no explanation of the issues other than it being ‘a demonstration over election results’.

well, according to the very passionate voices on the streets tonight, the issue is years of mass rape, genocide, and repression (with UN estimates of more than 5 million, nearly a tenth of the population, murdered in the past decade) and the western states’ support for an illegitimate leader after rigged elections.

the protestors believe that joseph kabila, who this week was announced as clear leader in the first democratic elections in the country in 40 years, is a corrupt rwandan military man with a deadly army unit of 7000 soldiers who is supported by western interests. they believe that etienne tshisekedi has a much larger popular vote, with estimates of support above 50%.

it is not hard to see why the west would meddle in the affairs of this huge country. it has vast mineral wealth, being the main world source of ‘coltan’ used widely in mobile phones, as well as cobalt, copper, uranium, gold, diamonds, tin, and zinc. as is often the case in africa, despite these huge resources, the standard of living of ordinary people in this rich country has been spiralling downwards for years.

the congolese protestors see cameron, sarkozy, and obama as the three biggest hypocrites, looters, and supporters of the illegitimate regime responsible for the human rights abuses in their country. with the first results of the election coming out, they see western support as a key ingredient in the rigged vote.

on tuesday a few hundred congo supporters blocked whitehall outside downing street, and as police TSG cleared the road, one protestor was violently head-butted and received a broken nose (fortunately caught on video by activists and soon to emerge).

today, up to a thousand protested again in whitehall, and the road was blocked for hours with a huge police containment operation failing to get to grips with the protest, and breakway groups forming further road blocks around trafalgar square and other parts of london.

Article continued at http://london.indymedia.org/articles/11271
Contact email: rikkiindymedia(At)gmail[dot]com

Embassy Boss Ambushed Over Mass Deportation Of Nigerians

Embassy Boss Ambushed Over Mass Deportation Of Nigerians

Nigerian High Commissioner in London turned his back on deportees today (8/12/2011).

High Commissioner Dr Tafida ignored calls from protesters to stop a mass deportation of up to 70 Nigerians from London to Lagos, scheduled for the evening.

Angry demonstrators ambushed Dr Tafida when he walked outside to bid farewell to guests. They demanded he stop tonight’s flight as aides rushed him back inside.

Britain needs Nigeria’s consent to deport its citizens. Eight members of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) work at the luxurious High Commission building in Central London. NIS staff confirm the nationality of detainees who the UK Border Agency (UKBA) want to deport to Nigeria by conducting interviews inside immigration prisons where they assess their accent and facial features.

Nigerians who work without permission can be arrested. The UKBA raids work places and (unlawfully) spot-checks people in the street who it suspects as ‘illegal immigrants‘. A six-month prison sentence is standard, followed by an indefinite period of detention in an ‘Immigration Removal Centre’ while the UKBA organises their deportation.

A Zimbabwean woman was detained for almost 2 years and regularly interviewed by NIS staff. Eventually, they accepted she was not Nigerian and the UKBA released her.

The High Commission claims “to protect the national interests of Nigeria within the United Kingdom”. However, migrant groups say their dignity is disrespected by the Embassy because it collaborates in their deportation. Some have built up considerable lives in the UK and are forced to leave it all behind.

Mass deportation ‘charter flights’ are particularly controversial. In August 2010 the UK expelled 124 Nigerians, including 10 children, on a single flight.

Six Nigerians have died during deportations from Europe – the highest number of fatalities from any one nationality. Last year Nigerian man Joseph Ndukadu Chiakwa died on a mass deportation from Switzerland. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has code-named its charter flights ‘Operation Majestic’ and used coaches branded ‘Just Go’ to drive deportees to the airport. On average each flight costs £150,000 of public money.

Campaigners say the UKBA has stopped using commercial flights to deport Nigerians. Instead private aircraft are chartered every 42 days for a collective expulsion. This comes after Immigration Authorities were embarrassed by the death of an Angolan deportee at the back of a British Airways flight in full sight of other passengers, some of whom spoke out to the media.

Protesters have started to target the Nigerian High Commission because they see it as a weak link in the deportation regime: “British politicians brag to the tabloid press about how many people they deport. But Embassy staff here are embarrassed to help these deportations and want to keep their involvement quiet. Nigerian consent is crucial for deportations to happen. The Iraqi Parliament ended deportations from Europe overnight in October when it refused to accept any more deportees”.

A refugee rights group in Germany claim Nigerian Embassy Staff there take a €500 bribe for every Nigerian they help deport. The ‘Voice Baden Württemberg’ said: “For each candidate interviewed the Nigerian embassy gets €250 and another €250 for issued travelling certificate”.

The UKBA is planning a mass deportation to Sri Lanka on Thursday 15th December. ‘Freedom From Torture’ has published new evidence of ongoing torture of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.

Stop Deportations to Nigeria! Demo outside Nigerian Embassy in London on Thursday 8th December

*Demo this Thursday 8th December outside Nigerian Embassy 12 noon*

Mass deportation charter flight scheduled for later this day

Up to 70 Nigerian migrants booked on this flight – many fear destitution or worse on return.

Nigerian Immigration Service co-operated with UK Border Agency to organise the flight – we demand the Nigerian High Commissioner ends their collaboration!

Meet at midday outside Nigerian High Commission, 9 NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE,LONDON WC2N 5BX or at 11.30 on the SOAS steps. Bring banners and drums!

If you can’t be there please call the Head of Immigration at the Embassy Tel: 0207 353 3776 Ext: 208 Email: isa@nigeriahc.org.uk

Media enquiries to soas_detainee_support[AT]riseup.net or (+44)07438 185 537

Demonstrate at the prison gates!

Demonstrate at the prison gates!

60 angry protesters demanded the closure of Campsfield Immigration prison yesterday, 26/11/2011. Their noisy demonstration marked 18 years of immigration detention at Campsfield House and the imprisonment of over 20,000 people during this period.

Passionate chants of “Freedom Now!” and “Migrants Are Not Criminals!” rang out across the prison fences from supporters, as detainees inside responded by waving hands and red t-shirts out from their cell windows.

Anti-detention campaigners came from all corners of England to support the demonstration near Oxford that was organised by the Campaign to Close Campsfield – a local group active since the centre opened in 1993.

A local samba band ‘Breach of the Peace’ added carnival vibes to the protest, and a dozen activists arrived on bike after a feeder cycle ride from Oxford town-centre.

A man who had once been detained in Campsfield bravely stood outside the prison gates and shared his experiences of detention with the crowd. Afterwards, an anti-war activist highlighted the sordid relationship between British arms manufacturers and British wars with refugees fleeing conflict-zones and Britain deporting these refugees. This year the UK was the second biggest exporter of weaponry and almost a third of refugees worldwide came from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Campfield House Immigration Detention Centre holds up to 216 male detainees. FTSE 250 company ‘Mitie’ won the £27 million 5-year contract to run the prison in the spring. In August a man who was apparently facing imminent deportation was found hanged at Campsfield.

The protesters left before 2pm to allow visitors time to see their friends and families.

The Campaign to Close Campsfield hold regular protests outside the prison on the last Saturday of every month. For more info visit please their website — http://closecampsfield.wordpress.com/