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Urgent action required – trade union speaker about to be deported

Alphonsus Uche Okafor-Mefor is in immigration detention due for forced deportation to Nigeria on Thursday

Alphonus’s Home Office Reference is M1320887

Alphonus is a refugee from Nigeria. This case is of particular relevance for the trade union movement. This is because Alphonus was due to speak at a major rally on immigration controls in Liverpool on March 31st being organised by the No One Is Illegal coalition. This has already garnered much trade union support and is being sponsored by UCU nationally. A leaflet is enclosed.

Alphonus is already well known in the Liverpool area (to which he was dispersed). This is because he is a leading member of the group Asylum Voice which campaigns for asylum seekers generally but in the Liverpool area has been campaigning against the new rapid removal system for refugees under the government’s so-called New Asylum Model (NAM). It is ironic that Alphonus is himself now being victimised and being subject to immediate removal.

Background

Alphonsus originally claimed asylum in April 2005 when the political situation in his home country Nigeria deteriorated. Alphonsus is an Igbo from the south-east area Biafra and belongs to MASSOB (Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra) who are campaigning for the independence of the Biafra region of Nigeria. He was detained and tortured following attendance of a MASSOB meeting there. He has continued to actively campaign in the UK to highlight the abuse and persecution of the Biafran people and the brutal murder of MASSOB members and Igbos by the Nigerian government forces through the Biafran Actualisation Forum (BAF). As a consequence he is known to the Nigerian government and faces imminent danger if he is returned.

A renewed application for asylum is presently being submitted.

The immediate danger

Alphonus is presently being detained at the detention centre at Manchester Airport. Tomorrow he will be taken to Colnbrook detention centre

The expected flight details to Nigeria are Virgin Atlantic Flight VS651 to Nigeria from Heathrow on Thursday 1st March at 22.00 hours

Suggested action

(1) Email Liam Byrne: Minister for State for Nationality, Citizenship & Immigration at byrnel@parliament.uk. Ask the case be reconsidered. Quote reference number
(2) Email Virgin Atlantic Airlines asking that they do not participate in the forced removal of Alphonsus on: Thursday 1st March at 22.00 Virgin Atlantic Flight VS651 to Nigeria from Heathrow.FAX Customer Relations : 08701 900959
EMAIL: Customer.relations@fly.virgin.com
(3) Unions with workers involved in this flight could point out to their members that they are not expected to act as agents of the Home Office particularly in situations such as this where there is a possible breach of human rights.
(4) Please use your email contacts to help gain publicity

For more information contact Margaret Mcadam at Liverpool Asylum Link on (1) mags_asylumlink@yahoo.co.uk or
(2) margaretacara@aol.com

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