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Gay asylum seeker at risk of deportation to Nigeria from UK

DANGER: In Nigeria, homosexual acts are punishable by up to 14 years in prison

A GAY asylum seeker currently held in a UK immigration detention centre is facing deportation to Nigeria.

Adeniyi Raji fled to Britain to escape being prosecuted because of his sexual orientation.

Raji came to Britain from Lagos in November and claimed asylum. He was immediately detained and has been held in detention centres.

He told The Guardian: “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.”

The 43-year-old was also fired from his job for being gay.

“The Nigerian police started publishing my pictures and my name in the Nigerian national dailies,” he said. “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.”

Bhaveshri Patel-Chandegra, Raji’s solicitor, 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.”

Raji’s has been given bail and is currently on release from detention but his asylum application has been rejected. He is appealing the decision made by a first-tier immigration tribunal.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and each claim is carefully considered on its individual merits.

“We have worked closely with organisations and charities, including Stonewall, the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, and the UN high commissioner for refugees to improve our guidance and training for asylum caseworkers.”

The penalties for engaging in homosexual acts in Nigeria can be as severe as 14 years in prison.

There were 362 asylum applications from Nigerians on the basis of sexual orientation between 1 July 2015 and 31 March 2017, making the country the third highest for the number of asylum claims where sexual orientation was a factor.

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