Nigeria & Ghana

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.

Thanks to everyone for your support!

To get in touch you can email us at post.s30@yahoo.com

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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.

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