A wheelchair-bound student activist who says her family in Nigeria believe she is a “curse” could be deported this Christmas, after the Home Office rejected her plea to remain in the UK.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition demanding Kelechi Chioba be allowed to remain in the country.
The 35-year-old who originally moved to Britain as a postgraduate student in 2011, has polio and suffers from mental health problems.
She applied for asylum on the basis that she endured severe abuse in Nigeria due to her disability. She says her family believe her to be a “curse” and that people had tried to kill her.
The statement alongside the petition says: “In Nigeria, she is regarded as a curse and a source of shame upon her family, due to her disability. She has suffered severe abuse at the hands of her family, including verbal abuse, beatings and attempts to end her life.”
But the she has been told by the Home Office there was “nothing sufficiently serious in the family or private life circumstances that could possibly outweigh the need for immigration controls to be enforced”.
She has recently returned to National Asylum Support Service (NASS) accommodation after a stay in hospital, and said she was struggling to survive on a budget of £31 per week, after her allowance was slashed by NASS.
Tasmia Salim, education officer at the University of Central Lancashire and a friend of Ms Chioba, said: “Kelechi is always championing other people, and it’s really hard to see her go through all of this.
“You have to ask, are these British values? We take the moral high ground with other governments but people right here in our country are suffering. Who are we to turn our backs?”
Chioba, who studied hospital and healthcare at the University of Wolverhampton before she was forced to postpone her studies, is a keen student disability campaigner and NUS activist.
A fundraising website has also has been started, which organisers say will fund Ms Chioba’s legal costs and go towards her food and medicine.
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