STATEMENT FROM NIGERIA DEPORTATION GROUP:
Weeks of Actions against Charter Flights, January 2017
On 11th January, the day of the demonstration against charter flights by the Nigerian Deportation Support Group outside the British high commission in Lagos, 2 people from the group were arrested by Nigerian military police outside of the British High Commission. They collected the placards and banners made for the demonstration and ripped them up and began to physically attack the 2 people from the group.
The police claimed that the British High Commission had already alerted the national police headquarters in Abuja about the demonstration, calling it a “threat”, and that people were calling Nigerian police from abroad saying that there would be an attack on the British High Commission in Lagos on 11th January. We do not know if these were the plans of the British High Commission all along or not, to try to stop us from the right to demonstrate. Charter flights show how loyal Nigeria is to the UK, motivated by money and bribes and “development”, but here we really saw how far Nigeria will go to defend the UK. But we know that the UK doesn’t care about Nigeria and never has, it just wants to deport people and forget about human rights abuses taking place here on its behalf.
Non-military police took the 2 group members to Victoria Island police station, claiming that they were “terrorising the area”. We have a letter of notification that was stamped by police before the day of the demonstration allowing it to take place, but afterwards the police said that it hadn’t been accepted.
With the help of other Nigerian activists and human rights groups we were able to get the group members released, after they were transferred to police headquarters at Ikeja, intimidated and forced to give a written statement about the organisation of the demonstration.
On the 19th January the demonstration that was planned for a week earlier went ahead, with even more support this time from activists and human rights groups in Nigeria as we protested charter flight and the unlawful deportation of people to Nigeria, as well as demonstrating the lack of human rights in Nigeria to be able to protest peacefully. Police tried to intimidate us and push us back so that we couldn’t get close to the British high commission building. We marched with our banners and voiced our concerns about charter flights to the media who were present. We were able to hand a letter to the representatives from the British high commission asking them to stop charter flights and unlawful deportations to Nigeria. We told them if our demands are not met we will be back, and next time in Abuja where the high commissioner himself lives.
The British High Commissioner in Abuja replied with a letter (see below) stating that the UK only deports people after their nationality has been determined, when they are medically fit to fly and when they have exhausted all their legal avenues. We know this is not true, people in our group have been deported without meeting these requirements. So we will continue to demonstrate.
Thanks to everyone for your support!
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