Please write to David Blunkett, Theresa May, Nick Clegg and Paul Scriven (details below) to prevent the family's deportation. A sample letter is provided, but please write your own if possible.
Fearing for the safety of her children, Mildred left Nigeria with the help of her partner’s friend and managed to get to the UK after a terrifying journey. She and her children have been living in Sheffield since December 2005. She is very active in the community and has worked as a volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau, Home-Start Sheffield, Northern Refugee Centre (REACT) among other places. She is a familiar voice on Sheffield Live!, a local community radio station. She was also given an award by City of Sanctuary for her services to the community.
Mildred has this week received a letter from the Home Office refusing her application for asylum and telling her that a flight has been booked for her and the children to return to Nigeria on Monday 25th at 22:20 (Virgin Atlantic Flight Number VS651).
Just over two weeks ago Mildred made new submissions to the United Kingdom Border Agency. The latest submissions included evidence from a child psychologist about the effect the threatened deportation is having on the emotional and psychological well-being of Mildred's elder daughter. It also included a letter from the consultant at the Children's Hospital who treats Mildred's son for asthma. The letter states that he will have major, possibly life threatening, health problems without appropriate medication and medical care.
The submissions also included:
822 signatures on a paper-based petition (these were additional to petitions already submitted)
1837 signatures on the on-line petition
71 letters of support from from parents, teachers and pupils at her children’s school, her church, people at the various places she has volunteered, and from the wider community
Detailed information about MASSOB and their violent activities in Nigeria and the lack of police protection
It is obvious from the letter of refusal that these submissions have not been considered properly.
The Sheffield Branch of the National Union of Teachers is supporting and sponsoring the campaign to keep the family safe in Sheffield.
Mildred is a 'legacy case' (an asylum case which pre-dates March 2007) for which special rules and procedures apply. In particular it is possible for her to be granted asylum outside the normal immigration rules. This has been the case for thousands of asylum seekers, many of whom do not have as strong a case as Mildred.
We want people to write to, email or fax the following people.
Rt. Hon. Mr David Blunkett
17-21 Furnival Gate
Sheffield S1 4QR
Fax: (0114) 278 0384
Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 7035 4745
85 Nethergreen Rd,
Sheffield, S11 7EH
Tel: (0114) 230 9002 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (0114) 230 9002 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Councillor Paul Scriven
Leader, Sheffield City Council
Sheffield City Council
Sheffield S1 2HH
Fax: (0114) 2736644
It doesn't matter if you are not in Nick Clegg's constituency. The important thing is that as many people as possible make urgent representations so that the family's deportation can be halted.
Please act quickly - this is very urgent. Please encourage your friends, relatives and other contacts to do the same.
Okpara Family: Mildred, Adaku, Enoch and Urenna (Home Office Reference O1093479).
I am writing to you urge you to do everything in your power to prevent the deportation of this family to Nigeria.
Mildred Okpara has been told that she and her three young children must return to Nigeria on Monday 25th October following a Home Office rejection of the latest evidence she submitted in support of her claim for asylum.
I feel that the Home Office has failed to consider her case properly. As an asylum seeker who arrived in this country before March 2007 Mildred’s claim should be dealt with through the legacy process taking into account the length of time the family have been here, Mildred’s conduct and character and the representations made on their behalf.
Mildred has lived in the UK for almost 5 years. Her three children have spent the vast majority or all of their lives in the UK. The latest submissions included 71 letters of support from parents, teachers and pupils at her children’s school, her church, people at the various places she has volunteered, and from the wider community. It also included a petition of almost 2700 signatories. Sheffield City Councillors and the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have supported her case. The Sheffield Branch of the NUT is also supporting the call for the family to be allowed to stay in safety in Sheffield. This strength of support is testimony to Mildred’s conduct since she arrived in Sheffield – her determination to integrate, to give something back to this community, to improve her English and to volunteer (at the Citizens Advice Bureau, Northern Refugee Centre (REACT) and community radio on Sheffield Live).
In addition there is clear evidence of real danger to the family if they are returned to Nigeria. Mildred fled Nigeria in 2005 after Biafran separatists tortured and murdered her partner, before physically abusing (then) baby Enoch, and threatening to return to 'finish the job'. She was already in an isolated situation in Nigeria, as she had run away from her family as a 12 year old to escape female genital mutilation.
Mildred Okpara is a remarkable young woman who is an asset to our community. She is the mother of three delightful little children, who until now have thrived in our community and who know of no other home but Sheffield.
I implore you to make representations to the Home Secretary asking her to reconsider this legacy case and grant the family leave to remain in the UK outside the immigration rules.