Colin Firth condemns 'cruelty' of Home Office decision to deport seriously ill woman to Nigeria


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Actor Colin Firth has condemned “the cruelty” of a Home Office decision to deport a seriously ill woman to Nigeria, where doctors say she may die because of the limited availability of affordable healthcare.

Roseline Akhalu, 49, has lived in the UK for eight years suffering from a kidney disease known as end stage renal failure.

She received a kidney transplant in 2009. In Nigeria she will "deteriorate very quickly" without access to medication, doctors say. Ms Akhalu recently completed a Masters Degree at the University of Leeds.

The Home Office denied her application on the basis that there is available treatment in Nigeria. However Ms Akhalu's legal team claim the treatment can be prohibitively expensive.

Firth, said that the case was "a question of saving a woman's life".

"In trying to grasp the cruelty of this decision one has to ask, why is there a need for a campaign?" Firth said. "Our Home Secretary has effectively condemned an innocent woman to death - a decision surely repugnant to every person in this country. It should be reversed immediately and Rose should be allowed to live."

Tessa Gregory, of Public Interest Lawyers, Ms Akhalu's lawyer, said: "Roseline is a bright, articulate woman who is an asset to the UK. The Home Secretary's decision is immoral, unlawful and a profound insult to the family of the kidney donor," Gregory said. "An appeal has been lodged and we will do our utmost to ensure the decision is overturned."

The Home Office argues that Ms Akhalu chose to remain in the United Kingdom for her own "financial advantage" to receive free treatment through the NHS.