The Campaign For Luqman are appealing for people to kindly donate £5, £10, or any amount per month to help Luqman Onikosi pay for his tuition fees. Currently, Luqman is an MA student at the University of Sussex studying Global Political Economy.
Luqman came to the United Kingdom in 2007 on a student visa and while an undergraduate student at the University of Sussex in 2009, he was diagnosed with hepatitis B, a chronic liver condition. In order to maintain his health, every six months Luqman must undergo a liver biopsy, along with a many other vital treatments that are not available in Nigeria.
Sadly, Luqman brothers who lived in Nigeria, Kolade Onikosi and Hanuna Onikosi, died recently due to complications from hepatitis B. Despite poor health, Luqman has tirelessly contributed to the Brighton and Hove community, including co-founding the ‘Hear Afrika Society’, and leading several high profile campaigns on issues such as racism, the environmental crisis and the economic rights of international students. In the wider community, he was part of ‘Brighton and Hove Climate Connection’ and ‘Brighton and Hove Black History’ groups. Luqman is very active in the University of Sussex movement to change tuition fees for asylum seeker and refugees, from non-EU international rates, to home fee rates.
Currently, the Home Office is trying to remove Luqman from the country. If the Home Office succeeds in removing Luqman, they will have blood on their hands for contributing and causing the death of a very ill person.
In May, non-EU international students like Luqman will be charged an additional £200 per year to access and use the NHS in order to prevent “health tourism.” Justice4Sanaz finds this new regulation excessive, draconian, discriminatory and horribly ableist in spirit. I won’t be long that Home Office and universities will begin privilege non-EU international able-bodied students over non-EU international students with disabilities and/or other existing health conditions. It will, furthermore, deter non-EU international students coming, especially those from a working class background, from applying to study in the United Kingdom. Additionally, it will prevent many non-EU international students from accessing proper health care for fear of having to pay more money for urgent treatment and because of racist xenophobic victimisation in health care centres because of their nationality/race.
As Luqman wrote in a piece for Ceasefire Magazine:
“Six years on, in the UK, I am still reeling from a level of culture shock which has slowly slid into confusion. Many migrants, like myself, who came to the Britain making social and economic contributions through education or employment, came without giving a moment’s thought to a ‘handout’ from the government, contrary to what many of the newspapers purport. But when an unpredictable turn of events afflicts you with a chronic illness, and you turn to social services for a safety net by applying for a visa extension on medical grounds, sadly the government – misleadingly – defines this as ‘health tourism.’
Health ‘tourism’ it is not. We migrants are already in the country, having overcome numerous financial, social and bureaucratic hurdles, and have been making a vibrant economic contribution to the governmental purse. Furthermore, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) does in fact make real provisions in its immigration policy for health tourism, covering those who intend to come to the UK and seek medical treatment privately.”
Justice4Sanaz hopes that student unions all over the United Kingdom advocate for and help refugee and asylum seeker students. Lastly, we hope that those with the student movement work with existing grassroots migrant rights advocates and non-EU international students to start a campaign to stop non-EU migrants from having to pay out of pocket for health care. Health care like education are a human right that should be free!