Vigil For Family Facing Removal To Nigeria

There is to be a vigil at the City Hall tomorow in protest at the deportation of Comfort Adefowoju and her young Belfast born daughter. Ms Adefowoju is originally from Lagos and left the country after her husband got into financial difficulties with one of the political groupings there. The Home Office are planning to return her to the federal capital, Abuja. But it is understood she has neither family there nor any practical means of support.“11th Hour” Vigil For Family Facing Removal To Nigeria

In a last ditch attempt to stall the deportation of a woman and her young family to Nigeria, friends and concerned citizens will gather on Monday 21st January at 12 noon outside Belfast City Hall, urging the Home Office to reconsider and return the family to their Belfast home.

Comfort Adefowoju, who has been in Belfast since 2006, fled Nigeria with her children after being threatened and intimidated by paramilitaries. A popular and well known member of Mountpottinger Presbyterian Church, she and her children are well integrated in the community, attending local schools, clubs and praise groups. The family are due to be removed on Monday morning, despite the firm belief of friends, campaigners and local politicians that they will be in severe danger if they are returned to Nigeria. A fresh asylum claim by Comfort was heard and refused by the Home Office in just 48 hours.

Having successfully stalled her deportation three times, friends are distraught that the Home Office are still refusing to back down despite widespread cross-community support for the family in Belfast . Fionola Meredith, one of the campaign organisers, said: “It makes no sense to us that the Home Office is pushing ahead with her removal when she has so much support in her Belfast community and compelling evidence from Nigeria. What harm are Comfort and her young children doing?”

Following an unsuccessful claim for asylum, Comfort and her children were “snatched” by immigration authorities in November, and have spent both Christmas and the New Year behind bars in Yarl’s Wood IRC.

While in detention Comfort has not received adequate legal representation, despite a reprieve granted for that very purpose. Friends are urging the Home Office to postpone her removal at least until she has had access to due recourse and her Belfast-born daughter has been provided with the necessary anti-malarial vaccinations.

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  • perci

    I grew up in Nigeria, and know a dissident taxi-driver from there quite well. The family will have problems if deported.

  • There was a rally held for Comfort and her family just before the christmas break up in Stormont, hosted by The Alliance if memory serves.

    The situation is a disgrace. Right Wing media such as The Mail and *ahem* The Sun are full of stories of immigrant families moving in and trying to force their culture over the one in place, refusing to accept the western/christian. Comfort and her family integrated very well in East Belfast and where prominant in their local church.

    Let that be a lesson to future immigrants, if you do try and accept a new way of life and culture New Labour’s hand picked dickheads will deport you.

  • Harry Flashman

    A very sad case but hard decisions have to be made, in a perfect world she would be allowed to remain however unlimited immigration cannot continue, it really is as simple as that.

    I suspect this lady is being picked on because she’s an easy target, much easier to pick up the church going single mother than going after the really problematic illegal immigrants from Albania and Somalia etc. The immigration authorities seem to be like the police, much safer to catch motorists doing 10 miles an hour over the speed limit on a quiet Sunday morning than actually going out and catching real criminals.

  • al

    Pounder

    Is “immigrant” an accurate description in this case? Or was/is she an asylum seeker or what?

  • lib2016

    It does seem strange that no allowance is made for people like this who made the effort to integrate and contribute to the host community. Best of luck to all those campaigning to help the lady.

  • Jo

    I wonder if any local racists will be holding a protest to insist that she go – and go asap?

  • wallop

    NI really is so naive on these topics it makes fun reading.

    Maybe we should ask for powers on coming to live in NI be devolved from Westminster? Africa is a big place with lots of hard luck stories, maybe we should have a rule that if you make it to NI and have decent behaviour and a hard luck story you can stay?

    Thats fairly mature public discourse.

    All the best Comfort, maybe your kids will grow up to be a force for good in your own country instead of running away.

  • [i]Those who support letting third worlders stay should be made pay for them themselves. A modern help the black babies movement. The cretin cost should be calculated and the amounts deducted from their supporters, who should also be forced to havve them move in with them. Instead of suckling from the public bourse, they could look to Gerry Adams, Caitriona Ruane and their ilk for succour.

    Posted by Paul McGrath on Jan 21, 2008 @ 08:39 PM[/i]

    Beyond racist paranoia do you actually have any evidence that Comfort and her family where actually living on benefits? Did you miss they part where the people of the East Belfast community them moved in to came up to Stormont to protest for the family to stay?

    Do you have kids or plan to have any in the future? If you do how far would you go to make sure they are born in an area safe from violence, poverty and disease.