The Odomusu family have been living in Britain for eight years. Ayomide, their only remaining daughter has not known any other country. But after eight years the Home Office consideration of their asylum claim had still not finished! Suddenly Kunle was accused of working illegally and this lead to the premature rejection of their asylum claim.
Danny Matthews of TCAR commented:“After eight years attempting to survive on hand-outs below the poverty line, Kunle Odomusu is being accused of working to support his family, paying taxes and national insurance. After eight years living in a country people need to be allowed to rebuild their lives. That getting a job is a crime for which Kunle can be deported, whilst it is normal behaviour for someone born in Britain, shows how racist the British Labour government really is.”
The right to undertake legal paid work was taken away from most asylum seekers in 2002. Yet asylum seekers are excluded from the normal welfare and benefits system, and instead expected to live on benefits 30% below normal minimum income support. If Kunle did work to support his family then is this a crime? And does it deserve the punishment of being sent back to an unsafe country, where three of your children have already gone missing?
Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) opposes the racist and degrading treatment of this and every asylum seeking family by the current Labour Government. While families continue to be dragged from their homes, into detention centres and onto planes against their will then we will continue to oppose and expose the shameful actions of the Home Office on the streets and in the media. We are asking people to send faxes to Jacqui Smith and take other action as detailed below.
Thanks and solidarity,
Right to work! Right to stay! Deportation no way!
Annie (TCAR secretary)
What can we do to support the family?
1) TCAR will be holding an emergency demonstration against the deportation of the Odomusu family from 10-11am on Tuesday 19th February outside Government Offices North East on Gallowgate.
They will not snatch us silently! They will not deport our friends in silence!
Together we are stronger - please show your support.
2) Fax/Email the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, MP, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Kunle and Iviat Odomusu and their daughter are allowed to stay in the UK. Please remember to include their Home Office Reference Number.
Fax: : 020 8760 3132/ from outside UK+ 44 020 8760 3132
[Please note, new fax number, new email address]
3) Fax Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer British Airways and urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Kunle, Iviat and Ayomide. Please adapt the attached fax as we haven't had time to do this.
Fax: 020 8759 4314 - from outside the UK + 44 20 8759 4314
Phone British Airways at Heathrow and complain about the flight. Stress that Kunle is currently being treated for mental health problems.
Customer Relations: 0870 850 9850
Phone Duty Immigration Officer at Heathrow on 02087456941 and ask to log your concerns about the removal. They may pass you back to North Shields immigration reporting centre. Different departments tend to pass the buck to each other. As many departments that are aware of this the better.
4) Let us know if you've been able to take action and please pass this message on to friends and colleagues.
FAX to Jacqui Smith
Rt. Hon Jacqui Smith, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office
3rd Floor, Peel Buildings
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 8760 3132
Dear Home Secretary,
Re: Kunle and Iviat Odomusu (HO ref: SCA/1505320) who are currently being detained in Yarl’s Wood IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Tuesday 19th February at 12.50pm on British Airlines Flight BA75 to Lagos
Husband and wife Kunle and Iviat Odomusu have already lost all trace of three of their children, who would now be aged 16, 14 and 10 respectively, as a consequence of an ongoing conflict in their home country of Nigeria. The family were snatched from their home in Byker by an immigration squad in a dawn raid on Wednesday morning and are presently facing deportation back to Nigeria together with their last remaining daughter, Ayomide, whom they brought to Britain as a baby.
Nigeria is not considered to be a safe country and is currently experiencing a combination of political corruption and armed conflict. Last October, Human Rights Watch published a 123-page report, “Criminal Politics: Violence, ‘Godfathers’ and Corruption in Nigeria,” documenting human rights abuses carried out by politicians. Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch said, “In place of democratic competition, struggles for political office are waged violently in the streets by thugs recruited by politicians.” Cases of police violence and brutality in Nigeria have also been documented. According to official statistics, 785 suspected “armed robbers” were shot dead in gunfire exchanges with the police between June and the beginning of September 2007. Once dead, these 'suspects' have no way of proving their innocence. The true figure of police killings is likely to be much higher. At the same time, Nigerian armed groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have been battling Western oil companies and the British- and US-backed government for control of their country's resources.
The Odomusu family have been living in Britain for eight years. Ayomide, their only remaining daughter has not known life in any other country. After eight anxious years of waiting, the Home Office had still failed to reach a decision concerning the family’s asylum claim. Suddenly, Kunle was accused of working illegally and this led to the premature rejection of the family’s asylum claim. In 2002, your Home Office took away the right for most asylum seekers to undertake legal paid work. Furthermore, asylum seekers are excluded from accessing the normal welfare and benefits system, and are instead expected to live on benefits 30% below normal minimum income support. If Kunle did work to support his family, is this a crime and does it merit the punishment of being sent back to an unsafe country, where three of her children have already gone missing?
On the grounds of respecting the family’s human rights as well as their health and safety, we ask that their removal be halted to allow for their case to be given further consideration and that they be granted exceptional leave to remain in Britain, where they are an integral part of the Newcastle community. From to his detention, Kunle was receiving treatment for depression and other psychiatric problems brought on by torture which he had suffered in Nigeria, which left scars on his head and back. The family is not in a fit state to be put on a plane, especially considering Kunle's mental health problems and his wife, Iviat's depression. Kunle is certain he will be killed if forcibly repatriated to Nigeria.