LETTER:Better deal for asylum-seekers

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The Independent Online
From Ms Teresa Munby

Sir: Your editorial "Nigeria: the price of timidity" (13 November) is to be welcomed; what price the timidity of the Secretary of State and the Home Office in the treatment of asylum-seekers from Nigeria now?

I, like any lawyer acting for asylum-seekers held in indefinite detention in our prisons and specially designed centres, despair of the attitude of the Home Office to Nigerians. They are held in detention in disproportionate numbers. They have a success rate before the Special Adjudicators in their claims for asylum that makes a nonsense of a credible appeal system. To date, about five Nigerians have been given full political asylum, and many thousands have been refused or await decisions on their claims. Hansard will confirm the figures for the cynical.

Does the long-awaited condemnation of the military regime mean that the Home Office will, at last, begin to treat Nigerian asylum-seekers with the respect they deserve? An announcement offering Nigerians exceptional leave to remain in the UK, pending a return to democratic rule in Nigeria, would prove this government's genuine desire to distance itself from the regime in Nigeria.

Yours sincerely,

Teresa Munby