Nigeria & Ghana

BRITAIN’S COLONIAL PAST WITH NIGERIA

– It was Britain created the state which is now known as Nigeria – combining two very different regions – the North (then, primarily Muslim) and South (then, primarily Christian). The name “Nigeria” was chosen by the wife of a British colonial administrator.

– Nigeria was used often by the British as a base for attacks against other colonised countries in Africa – destroying self-sufficient ways of living, agricultural production – leading to famime, poverty.

– Boko Haram is a product of British colonial rule and divide & rule tactics – it ruled the south of Nigeria directly and the north “indirectly” (keeping “traditional” Muslim rulers in place) – and therefore the two states, which had been combined to function and be understood as one country – developed differently, and led to widespread poverty and unemployment in the north, which then led to the formation of Boko Haram (among other things such as the Biafran war, which is where most famous photos of famime-struck children in Africa are from – a civil war which Nigeria is still recovering from).

– When western Christian missionaries went to Nigeria, they provided literal understandings of the Bible, shaping a lot of anti-LGBT laws and discourse now present in Nigeria. Anti-LGBT penal codes were first introduced under the British empire.

– By the time Nigeria gained independence in 1960, British colonial rule had ensured that the country would continue to represent the interests of Britain. Neo-colonialism: bilateral agreements, the International Monetary Fund’s programmes, which has steered Nigeria’s economy away from agricultural development (resulting in a lack of production/food) and into the oil industry to profit western companies such as Shell. These companies not only kill campaigners (financing the military) and displace people, but influence political and social life for citizens – one Shell memo says, “For a commercial company trying to make investments, you need a stable environment; dictatorships can give you that.” Shell gets over 30 million dollars in revenues from Nigerian operations, yet Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world (according to the UN).

– After WW2, Britain actively initiated and encouraged large-scale immigration from Commonwealth countries during the 1950/60s, as there was a shortage of labour and more was needed to rebuild the country – it is their kids and grandkids who are facing deportation now.

DEPORTATIONS + CHARTER FLIGHTS TO NIGERIA & GHANA

  • As well as commercial flights regularly removing people to Nigeria, every 2 months there is a charter flight to Nigeria and Ghana, under “Operation Majestic” as referred to by the Home Office.
  • The contracted airline is Titan Airways.
  • Between February 2016 and July 2015, there were 3 charter flights to Nigeria/Ghana, 575 removal directions issued, 145 men and 36 women removed. 394 people managed to get off the 3 flights in total.
  • Between January 2016 and March 2016, 78 people were removed to Nigeria on charter flights.
  • The Nigerian High Commission is found to charge £70 per travel document for deportees. So for a charter flight, leaving every other month, they can receive over £3500 from the Home Office for issuing travel documents.

STATEMENTS FROM PEOPLE IN DETENTION FACING DEPORTATION TO NIGERIA

RESOURCES/ARTICLES

MONITORING CHARTER FLIGHTS TO NIGERIA & GHANA

Charter flight to Nigeria & Ghana 24/05/2016 22.30pm
– Titan Airways from Stansted airport
– Tascor contracted security guards onboard flight
– Reports of around 300 people issued with removal directions for this specific charter flight
– People removed included a woman who was served with a refusal of her fresh claim whilst waiting for the coach to arrive at Yarl’s Wood and was subsequently denied access to the library to pursue the legal avenue of judicial review; a man from the LGBT community who had a partner in the UK & faces violence, persecution and imprisonment in Ghana; a man who had come to the UK aged 14 & lived in the UK for 14 more years with his mother, sibling & long-term partner all in the UK.
– 1 person who attempted to resist being taken onto the plane was restrained by 8 guards, and held in restraints throughout the flight.
– Media coverage: The Unity Centre, Open Democracy

Charter flight to Nigeria & Ghana 22/03/2016 22.30pm
– Titan Airways from Stansted airport
– One deportee was completely unfit to fly: physically disabled, had survived a brain operation, taken to the plane in an ambulance
– Collaboration with Belgium government, which also had a deportation charter flight leaving for Nigeria 22/03/2016.
– Media coverage: The Unity Centre, Movement for Justice, The Guardian

Charter flight to Nigeria & Ghana & Cameroon 26/01/2016 22.30pm
– Titan Airways from Stansted airport
Attempted to remove people seeking asylum in the UK from Sierra Leone & Eritrea to Nigeria & Ghana
– One man deported who had lived in the UK for 24 years with 2 daughters. Was told he was set to be deported the morning of the charter flight.
– At least 1 survivor of torture was removed who had been in the UK for 22 years. The Home Office had evidence and records of this torture: teeth pulled out, numerous bullet wounds, scars.

Charter flight to Nigeria & Ghana & Sierra Leone 24/11/2015 22.30pm
– Titan Airways from Stansted airport
– 1 person who was born in Belgium with a Belgium birth certificate, and has lived in the UK for 17 years was removed – with no connections to Nigeria, no family in Nigeria, no records in Nigeria
– Media coverage: The Unity Centre, Daily Times, National Mirror Online

Charter flight to Nigeria & Ghana & Sierra Leone 28/07/2015
– Titan Airways from Stansted airport
– Detainees who had been told their tickets were cancelled were taken onboard; detainees with outstanding asylum/human rights applications taken onboard
– 1 man with a ticket to Sierra Leone on the charter flight climbed on top of the roof of Harmondsworth detention centre threatening to jump
– Big reserve list for flight: 100 people on the list to be removed, but only 70 places onboard
– 1 person on the reserve list had numerous letters from multiple doctors saying that it is not lawful to deport him due to his medical condition.
– Media coverage: The Unity Centre

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