At today’s protest at Stormont, Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long MLA has called for the Home Office to let two families from Nigeria, that are facing deportation, stay in Belfast because their lives could be put risk if they return. One of the women faces either a forced marriage or losing her children and everything they own on their return to Nigeria. Anna Lo backed her call and said that the local community here would also be devastated if the families were deported. The Alliance Party organized the protest along with campaigners against the potential deportations.
Their local MLA in East Belfast, Naomi Long said: “It’s time that the UK government handled immigration in a more sensitive and compassionate way, and took into account the abuse which can face people at the hands of their culture and community as well as at the hands of their Governments.
“The arrest and detention of women and children in prison is an ordeal which they should not have to face. At such a difficult time in their lives, they are being removed from their friends and supporters, are isolated and being treated like criminals rather than people seeking safe place to raise their young families free from persecution and abuse.
“Comfort and her family’s lives could be placed in real danger if they are deported. Not only that but her children’s education will also be put in jeopardy. They have all settled in very well in Belfast and are members of a local church and attend clubs and schools in the area.
“Aderonke Falode must also be allowed to stay in Northern Ireland. Forced marriages are not acceptable in the UK and the immigration authorities should not be returning women to the certainty of facing this kind of sexual and mental abuse in their home country. To force someone to choose between being subjected to a forced marriage and losing their children is inhumane and this country should not be complicit in this abuse.”
“These families have come to Northern Ireland and have integrated well into the community in East Belfast. They have made new lives together and are active members of their local church and school communities, which is evident in the level of support they have received from the local community.”
South Belfast Alliance MLA Anna Lo said; “The deportation of both these families would be a devastating blow. It could potentially put their lives at risk.
“The families have built a life here and they are an integral part of the community.
“Both families have a large number of friends, and the whole community would be devastated if they are not allowed to stay. The Home Office should take notice of the community’s support for Aderonke and Comfort and make the right decision. Lets hope today’s demonstration delivers the right result.”