By Uche Amunike
A gay Asylum seeking Nigerian deported from the UK, recently has cried out that his life was in danger, as the reason why he left Nigeria in the first place was in order to get asylum and assured safety from people who wanted him dead because of his gay status.
The young man, Adeniyi Raji, stated that he was afraid for his life because his stay in the UK gave him protection from people in his Muslim-populated home community that have been sending him continuous death threats for indulging in homosexuality.
Raji was almost deported from the UK in 2017, but got lucky and was eventually permitted continued stay in the country.
As a matter of fact, he shared screenshots of the snippets of the death threats he had received from someone in Nigeria.
It read: ‘So, after all we did to you before, you are still a practicing homosexual. Wait until we see you down here. That will be the end of you’.
This has put a lot of fear in the young Raji, who is however, not the only Nigerian deported from the UK. In 2018, he faced similar deportation after he was held for six months in an immigration detention centre.
Gay marriages and displays of same-sex affection are also outlawed in Nigeria. Apart from Bangladesh and Pakistan, Nigeria produces the largest number of asylum claims that are centred on sexual orientation.
Homosexual acts in Nigeria are punishable by 14 years imprisonment, based on an Act signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
Reports from The Guardian UK say that mothers and grandmothers are among those facing deportation to Nigeria and Ghana on a controversial home office charter flight on Wednesday.
The Federal ministry of foreign affairs has however told Life and Times that their deportation was as a result of immigration related offences. Not less than were 38 Nigerians deported from the UK will arrive Lagos today. Among them are mothers and grandmothers and some members of the gay community who were actually seeking asylum in the UK.
As for the deportees who arrived Nigeria already, they were accompanied by four diplomats, whose jobs were to ensure that there was no misinformation from them.
Among them were some Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer, pop-up popularly known as LGBTQ, most of whom traveled to the foreign country to seek asylum.
They were all received at the Lagos airport by immigration officials and other law enforcement agencies. However, reports say that only 30 out of the deportees were Nigerians while the remaining are citizens of neighbouring countries.
The UK has however has announced a major new agreement with Nigeria to collaborate on migration issues following some similar arrangements with Ghana and Rwanda.
In Nigeria, the government’s foreign travel advice for the country is that homosexuality is generally viewed as unacceptable and that lengthy prison sentences await those in same-sex relationships or who even support gay clubs societies and organisations.