Since August 2015, the Justice4Sanaz campaign has been blogging about supporting our friend and fellow activist, Kelechi Chioba. Chioba, an activist for both the NUS Black Students’ Campaign and the Disabled Students Campaign has been fighting a brave and courageous struggle to stop the Home Office from deporting her.
As her petition states,
“[Kelechi] came to study in the UK as a postgraduate student, having paid for her visa and fees herself through work which she had to plead her father to arrange for her in Nigeria so that she was able to pay for essentials. She was sexually abused in the workplace, which led to her attempting suicide in desperation. A friend advised her to apply to study in the UK. She came to the UK to escape the abuse, her mental health and disability worsened however, and whilst arriving needing only crutches she later became wheelchair-bound, which then led to cause damage in her arm meaning she is reliant on a electric wheelchair. Her brother and sister, who arrived in the UK before her have been caring for her, however she fears that returning to Nigeria would mean they would succumb again to the societal pressures and strong influence of culture and kinship in Nigeria that discriminates against disabled individuals.
Having to cover the costs of the wheelchair herself, financial hardship meant she could not complete her course. This made it impossible to apply for extra leave when her student visa ran out. Seeking help from the advice bureau on how to remain permanently, they told her she would need to give up her student status and make a fresh application that would now need to be made from Nigeria.
She made a human rights’ appeal for her case for fear of prosecution and discrimination, which was rejected by the Home Office. It is a human right that no one shall be subject to torture or inhuman treatment, and that everybody’s life should be protected by law. It is reprehensible that the government can say ‘there was nothing sufficiently serious in the family or private life circumstances that could possibly outweigh the need for immigration controls to be enforced’ when, if she returns Kelechi fears that she will face further abuse, and be put in a psychiatric home. Having witnessed patients in psychiatric care being chained up and forced to take medication, she fears for her life.”
Sanaz recently visited Kelechi in Derby and interviewed her for the Justice4Sanaz blog. As a disabled women of color, Kelechi emphatically stated during the interview,
“I’m not the only one going through this. There are so many people out there in my situation. If you can lend your hands on anybody, don’t close your eyes and pretend as if you didn’t see the person. Help everyone! Anyone who is going through and immigration case, asylum case and is queer, and is disabled and is a woman of color will need you to support them.”
Kelechi also mentioned during the interview that her health has unfortunately worsen since the Home Office has stepped up its efforts in deporting her. She stated during the interview that she was recently sent to a psychiatric facility because she attempted to commit suicide again because of all the strain, anxiety and stress she has been under because of her asylum case.
We invite you to please watch and share the video
We also hope that our supporters will lend a hand to the #SaveKelechi campaign by doing the following:
1. Follow the #SaveKelechi campaign page on Facebook.
2. To sign the petition on Change.org that has been endorsed by over 1,000 supporters.
3. Donate any spare coins you have so that Kelechi can afford a solicitor on her asylum case.
We hope to put together a fundraiser to help Kelechi with her campaign. Please e-mail us and let us know if you’d like to join us in this effort.