“He is waiting for me. He is planning to kill me.”
A lesbian from Nigeria is pleading with British officials to cancel her planned deportation next week, claiming her ex-husband has promised to kill her if she returns.
The unnamed asylum-seeker writes on Detained Voices that she fled to the UK after being forced into an arranged marriage with a man in Nigeria.
Her asylum request was denied, though, and after living illegally in London for six years, she was detained by immigration officials in September.
“I have been living a miserable life since I was born, because I have to hide my sexuality,” writes the woman, a mother of four. “I cannot be free. I thought in UK I would be able to be lesbian and live free. But now they are trying to deport me to a country where I will not be safe because of my sexuality.”
Homosexuality is still illegal in Nigeria, as are LGBT organizations. In the southern part of the country, homosexual activity is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In the north, where Sharia is the law, the punishment is death by stoning.
When asylum requests are successful, applicants receive refugee status for five years. After that, their status is reviewed again, and may be revoked if officials determine the circumstances at home are no longer threatening. When the Nigerian woman’s initial request was denied, she filed an appeal, but it was also denied.
“I had to leave Nigeria because I was scared of my husband,” she explains. “My husband is trying to kill me, he has reported to the police that I am coming. They are all waiting for me.”
Her ex is also trying to get custody of her children away from a friend who is caring for them back home. Two of them have been unable to attend school because she can’t send money anymore and and her ex doesn’t provide any financial assistance.
“If he kills me, who will I look after my children?” she pleads. “They rely on me.”
Her sister, who lives in London, as well as her lawyer, and local immigration officials have all been in contact with the Home Office in hopes of reviewing her case, but to avail. “I don’t want to go on that plane,” she pleads. “They should give me and my children a life. They should spare my life because of my children. I am begging.”
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