Friday, 11 April 2014

UK Residents to Protest Gay Nigerian Woman's Deportation in London

Aderonke Apata faces return to Nigeria after overstaying visa despite fears she will be endangered in West African state

HUNDREDS OF people are expected to attend a demonstration outside the Home Office in central London on Friday (Apr 11) as part of a protest against current plans to remove a lesbian Nigerian from the UK.

The protest, which will take place on Marsham Street in London and at the UK Visas and Immigration office in Union Street, Liverpool, is to prevent Aderonke Apata, from been deported back to the Western African country.

The 46-year-old, who has been told to provide documentation and evidence to the High Court for judicial review proceeding next week, said she fears capital punishment if deported to Nigeria.

Protesters are “to hand in the petition and show our support” for Apata who has “fought tirelessly for equal rights for everyone and against injustice everywhere”.

Apata said: “Growing up in Nigeria, I was unable to disclose my sexuality, yet unable to hide it.

“The culture in Nigeria makes it clear that being gay or transgender is a sin, a sentiment that is fueled by homophobic messages from faith communities, political leaders, families, and schools.”

In a video for the group Movement of Justice (MFJ), she added: “Retuning to Nigeria is not an option for me because as well as a death sentence hanging over me; I will face 14 years in prison due to the anti-gay law that was passed by the Nigerian Government in January 2014.

"I want to remain in the UK in order to contribute positively to the society and support my girlfriend, who I am now engaged to."

More than 24,000 people have since signed a petition demanding she remains in the UK to avoid the same fate as her -exgirlfriend of over 20 years who “was brutally murdered by the vigilantes in 2012”.

Apata, who was recently admitted to hospital, claimed to have bribed the Nigerian police to avoid jail before managing to escape "to seek asylum in the UK 10 years ago in 2004 after I was exposed as gay woman.”

This year, the president of Nigeria Jonathan Goodluck went ahead to sign the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act despite threats by the British government to cut aid to countries which implement the anti-gay bill.

The anti-gay bill as it is commonly known acts to “prohibit marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same sex and solemnisation of same and for other matters related therwith”.

It now makes it illegal for gay people to hold a meeting.

Any one caught breaking the law could be imprisoned for 14 years and it states that “only marriages contracted between a man and a woman [are] recognised as valid”.

Those holding membership or encouragement of gay club, societies and organisations will be sentenced to 10 years, the new law also states.

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