Category Archives: Campaign News

Student occupiers demand Sussex University support for Luqman

Last week students at Luqman’s university staged a three day sit-in at the conference centre on campus. They demanded the institution give its backing to Luqman’s case. After negotiations, the students published the university management’s offer and their response:

The University of Sussex’s offer, and our response

FROM THE UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT: REQUESTS IN RELATION TO THE BRAMBER HOUSE ACTION

The University recognises the support by staff and students for Luqman Onikosi and understands the strong feelings that many of our campus community has in relation to his plight. Although the University is unable to influence the decision of the Home Office in relation to Mr Onikosi’s visa, we are sympathetic to his position and that of his supporters.

Last night a meeting was held with the PVC of Learning, Professor Clare Mackie, four representatives of Mr Onikosi’s supporters and two of the Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers. PVC Mackie listened to the group and following this meeting, the University has considered the points and responded below.

1. Although the University appreciates the group’s position in relation to Mr Onikosi’s visa status, the University is not able to make any further public statement in respect to the Home Office. The University has around 2000 students and 90 members of staff who require a special visa in order to study and work in the UK. We cannot do anything which risks the visa status of these people.

2. The University believes it currently has an inclusive Teaching and Learning strategy. All staff have the academic freedom to pursue their own discipline interests, without the constraints or input from University management.

However, we will conduct a comprehensive review of all curricula to ensure that they represent the truly global institution that Sussex is. PVC Mackie will raise this matter at the Teaching and Learning Committee meeting next week. The Committee will ask all Directors of Teaching and Learning, in each of our academic schools, to assess the current module reading list and review all curricula.

3. We have heard the group’s points in relation to the Government’s Prevent agenda. The University’s governing Council, of which the Students’ Union President is a member, is required to ensure that Sussex is compliant with the Government’s requirements. We will ensure Prevent is raised as an agenda item at the next Council meeting in April so as to ensure the concerns of the group, via the Students’ Union President, is heard.

OUR RESPONSE:

Thank you for the swift response. Whilst we appreciate your concessions and concerns we feel that many of our demands have been overlooked, and that University management has not done everything in their power to support our campaign.

Please find our response below.

1. Award Luqman his MA.

The University’s response has not addressed our demand that they award Mr Luqman Onikosi his MA in Global Political Economy. We demand that the University award him his MA.

2. End collaboration with the Home Office, including legally and politically challenging Prevent and International Student Licensing. We also demand that the University publicly state your opposition to Luqman’s deportation.

We believe that the University’s claim that “the University is not able to make any further public statement in respect to the Home Office” is disingenuous. Whilst we do not want to risk the status and safety of other international students and staff, we still demand that the University stands with us against the Home Office by issuing a statement.

Whilst we realise that the University of Sussex cannot take direct action against the rulings of the Home Office, it is within your power to release a statement stating your opposition to certain aspects of Home Office legislation on moral grounds. We demand that the University release this statement as soon as possible to sHome Office Off Campushow an understanding of the University’s obligation to us as students.

We welcome the University’s proposal to raise Prevent as an agenda item for the next Council meeting. However, in reality, this is no more than words. We demand that Prevent is put at the top of the Agenda and that there is significant student representation of our choosing at the Council meeting where they will discuss Prevent. We demand an open meeting where all students can attend as observers and any Student Rep and Student Union staff should be able to speak freely and be heard on this matter.

3. Convert the 50 fee scholarships for refugees into full scholarships including living support

We demand 50 full scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers. In addition to the 50 Syrian English language scholarships that you have launched, which we fully support, we want 50 full refugee scholarships. We demand the University cover full tuition fees and living costs for 50 refugees and asylum seekers to study any degree they wish at the University of Sussex.

4. Conduct an immediate review of curriculum with the Sussex school of Global Studies Initiative: Decolonizing Education: Towards Academic Freedom In Pluriversality (DETAFIP).

The University’s proposal to “conduct a comprehensive review of all curricula to ensure that they represent the truly global institution that Sussex is” is a welcome step in the right direction, but we do not believe it goes far enough. We demand that this review and following changes must be done in close partnership with the already established Global Studies initiative “Decolonizing Education: Towards Academic Freedom In Pluriversality” (DETAFIP). We know we are much stronger working together, and that student and staff engagement and participation in the matter will make this infinitely more fruitful.

Finally, we demand an open meeting with University management as soon as possible to discuss the above proposals. This must take place before the Easter break.

Yours sincerely,

Home Office Off Campus

Sussex student Luqman Onikosi faces deportation to his death

#DontDeportLuqman

In 2007 Luqman Onikosi came to the UK from Nigeria to study for a degree in Economics and International Relations at Sussex University. Whilst studying, he was diagnosed with chronic liver disease as a result of Hepatitis B. After graduating he got a job at the Nigerian High Commission in London, until 2012, when his illness flared up and he was unable to continue working.

At this stage Luqman put in application for formal leave to remain in the UK, on medical grounds. To maintain his health, every six months Luqman must undergo a liver biopsy, liver function ultrasound scan, a muscle reflex test, a Hep B load test, Fibrosis score test, ALT Score test, E antigen test and liver function test. Effective treatment for the condition, which requires careful monitoring, is not available in Nigeria. He has already lost two brothers, both living in Nigeria, to the same disease.

Theresa May and the Home Office threatened to deport Luqman after refusing his leave to remain application. A campaign mobilised to successfully oppose this. With the support of a lawyer working pro bono he was able to submit a fresh leave to remain application on human rights grounds, and remain in the country while the Home Office considered his case.

In 2014 he returned to Sussex to study for a Masters in Global Political Economy, funded by a crowdfunding campaign. In May 2015, whilst he was writing his dissertation, the university was informed by the Home Office that he no longer had the right to study because his application had been rejected. The university suspended him, and a spell of bad health forced Luqman back into hospital for 3 months. However, Luqman himself was never informed by the Home Office of his application status. Only in Late January 2016 did he obtain a copy of a letter, dated May 2015, telling him his application had been rejected. He is now at risk of detention and deportation at any time.

If deported to Nigeria, a country without the ability to provide him with the care he needs to stay alive, he is likely to suffer the same fates as his two brothers before him. The Home Office has passed a death sentence against this young man.

We now call on them to reverse their decision, and immediately grant Luqman leave to remain in the UK.

Please help Luqman challenge this decision by supporting our crowdfunding appeal for legal expenses.

Crowdfunding Luqman’s M.A. tuition fees

Luqman has started the Global Political Economy M.A. programme at Sussex University. However, he has been denied access to the normal ways of funding postgraduate study as a result of his immigration status. We have launched this crowdfunding appeal to allow Luqman to continue to take up this opportunity.

Please give £5 a month, £10 a month or as much as you can afford. You can give a monthly or one-off donation by credit/debit card – payments are handled by PayPal. Click one of the buttons below to sign up.

£5 a month (12 months):
£10 a month (12 months):
£25 a month (12 months):
Other amount:

Signed,

Luke Martell
Rachel Harger
Tom Wills

Financial Information

Funds will be handled by Tom Wills in a dedicated bank account. Statements of the account will be published here monthly. All funds raised will be paid to the University of Sussex in favour of Luqman’s tuition fee account. In the event that we exceed the amount required, any excess funds will be donated to Refugee Radio – registered charity no. 1133554.

Update 2 Apr 2015 — We have re-opened the crowdfunding appeal as we need one more push to be able to cover Luqman’s tuition fees. Please encourage your friends to sign up for a monthly donation using the Paypal buttons at the top of this page.

Thank you

Last week, we asked for your help to raise the funds Luqman needed to submit a fresh application for leave to remain in the UK. Your response was phenomenal. We hit the £578 target in under four hours, and then you kept donating. By the end of the weekend, the fundraising appeal had raised £830. Thank you.

Your swift and generous support meant Luqman was able to submit his new application to the Home Office this week. Luqman is now safe from the immediate threat of deportation while the Home Office considers his application.

Luqman says: “A trillion massive thanks for the unflinching and emphatic support you have shown me over the weekend. I find it humbly imperative that I must express my gratitude. I will forever be grateful to everyone that I know and don’t know who had a significant role in getting me out of this troubled water.”

It may be some time until there is any response from the Home Office. We will be keeping a close eye on the situation and will update this site as soon as there is any further development.

Help Luqman apply for leave to remain in the UK

Luqman has submitted a fresh application to the Home Office for leave to remain on medical grounds. This week the Home Office told Luqman they would not consider his application without a fee because they do not accept that he is destitute.

This is absurd as Luqman is currently not allowed to work and not allowed to claim welfare.

Luqman has been advised by his lawyers that he should raise the £578 fee for his application by Monday 20th January so that his application can be resubmitted.

Although it is grossly unfair that the Home Office is demanding this payment, Luqman’s lawyers have advised him to pay the fee to avoid the risk of being detained by the Home Office.

As Luqman does not have the means to pay the fee we are asking supporters of his campaign to donate towards it. We are collecting donations on Indiegogo – click here to donate.

If any funds are raised in excess of the amount needed to cover the fee and transaction charges we will donate them to Refugee Radio, registered charity no. 1133554, which is one of the organisations supporting Luqman in Brighton.

If you have any questions or wish to verify the authenticity of this campaign please feel free to email press@campaignforluqman.org.uk.

Donate now

Press Release on Conference for Hepatitis Epidemic: The Future?

My name is Luqman Onikosi and I am Hep B positive.

I was diagnosed with Hep B in 2009 while studying Economics and International Relations at the University of Sussex. Since then I have lost a close friend, Shamsu Walli — a former student of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sussex — to this dreadful, yet preventable and manageable virus, less than 3 weeks after his 29th birthday. I have also lost two siblings, Kolade and Harun Onikosi in the space of 4 months, in October 2011 and March 2012 respectively.

Over the last three decades, concerted human resources effort was thrown behind raising awareness of HIV/AIDS globally. However, other very dreadful viruses — especially Hepatitis — have been granted time to spread. Innocent children suffer with the misconception that there is no future, mother to child transmission is not prevented, friendships are strained, couples break up and families are torn apart because of inadequate access to the accurate information that would dispel the myths and stereotypes around Hepatitis and alleviate much suffering.

The two siblings, Shamsu Walli and me, are few numbers out of the 1 in 12 people that live with hepatitis worldwide. Over 2 billion of us come in contact with hepatitis a year but 350 million out of us go on to develop chronic Hepatitis 6 months after initial diagnosis. That is 8 times more people living with hepatitis than the 40 million living with HIV/AIDS. Sadly, more than 30% of these people, like me, will not have symptoms until we are on our dying bed.

Why I am concerned is that 1 in 70 live with hepatitis in the UK now. The number of cases in Brighton and Hove is twice the average for the South East. Meanwhile, research underscores that people suffering from chronic illnesses are faced with higher risk of depression, rated between 25-33%, greater than ordinary women- 10-25% and men- 5-10%. The annual report of the Director of Public Health Brighton and Hove 2012/13 indicates that migrants who are unable to work due to disability or ill health have higher risk of depression, at 85%, which is 18% higher than the unemployed or job seekers.

Section 21 of the National Assistance Act of 1948 compels the state to intervene in the life of a migrant if it deems that the human rights of that migrant are in jeopardy, and the state has to protect the dignity of the of the migrant, especially if a ‘no recourse to public funds’ clause is present on his or her visa or the person is at high risk of mental illness. Yet liver chronic illness is not recognised as disability and its impact on mental health is disregarded.

In response to this, the community group which I am part of, Hepatitis B Foundation –Brighton, with the support of Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum, invites you to our free community panel discussion tagged:

‘Hepatitis: The Future?’

https://www.facebook.com/events/594178360641662/

On the Monday 18 November at 5pm, Brighton Museum, Old Court Room,118 Church St (side entrance) BN1 1UD UK (opp Brighton Dome). With guest speakers:

1. Dr. Jeremy Tibble (Consultant Liver Specialist & Associate Chief of Medicine Brighton Sussex University –Hospital-NHS Trust)

What is Hepatitis?Its causes, characteristics, complications, transmissions and prevention.

2. Prof. Martin Fisher (Consultant in HIV and Genitourinary Medicine, Royal Sussex County Hospital, NHS Trust, Brighton)

The interaction between Hep B and HIV, and possibly Hep B vaccination

3. Nina Yeo (Refugee Radio – Resilience Panel Coordinator)

The effect of chronic illness on mental health, especially in the refugee and migrant community.

4. Paul Desmond (Director Hep B Foundation UK – London)

The limitation Resources and funding & support for people living with the virus and their families

The presentations will be followed by a Q&A. Please arrive promptly.

Light refreshment served

Thank you

Luqman Onikosi

Founder

Hepatitis B Foundation –Brighton