A Nigerian asylum seeker who fled to Britain to avoid prosecution for being gay is facing deportation after being held for six months in an immigration detention centre. Adeniyi Raji, 43 said he received death threats on social media, highlights the increasing number of claims to the Home Office by individuals from countries where homosexuality is outlawed.
In Nigerian, homosexual acts are punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Gay marriage and displays of same-sex affection are also outlawed. After Pakistan and Bangladesh, it is the country that produces the largest number of asylum claims based on sexual orientation.
Adeniyi Raji fled the city of Lagos and arrived at Heathrow airport in November. He claimed asylum and was immediately detained and he was recently given bail and released from detention.
He Told the Guardian that:
“I decided to come to the UK to seek refuge and humanitarian protection because my life was in danger in Nigeria.“I was attacked on several occasions. My ex-wife caught me and my former partner in bed. As soon as she saw us, she immediately raised the alarm. People gathered and started beating us severely. After that, she divorced me.”
My employer in Lagos sacked him for being gay. “The Nigerian police started publishing my pictures and my name in the Nigerian national dailies,” he added. “They kept saying that anyone who has useful information that could lead to my arrest should come forward so that I can face the wrath of the land as a result of my sexual orientations.”
A first-tier immigration tribunal has rejected his asylum application. He is appealing against that decision.
Raji’s solicitor, Bhaveshri Patel-Chandegra, an immigration specialist at the law firm Duncan Lewis, said:
“The court has looked at his case and nullified all his evidence that he is at serious risk if removed to Nigeria but there’s been no evidence that his documents aren’t genuine.”