Local community comes together to support their friend’s quest to stay in UK
Friends and supporters are keeping fingers crossed as case goes to court on Thursday
Quick notes for editors:
- Brighton-based man Luqman Onikosi will this week appeal the Home Office decision to remove him from the UK, at a court tribunal.
- Luqman is a well-known community campaigner and volunteer for numerous causes. He suffers from a life-threatening chronic liver disease.
- Over 7,500 people signed a petition requesting the Home Office grant him ‘Leave to Remain,’ and his case has been backed by high profile figures such as Noam Chomsky and academics from across the UK.
- Friends from Brighton and further afield will join Luqman in court this week and are hoping he will be granted leave to remain.
Friends and supporters of a migrant community activist are hoping for good news as his appeal to stay in the UK goes before a judge this Thursday.
Brighton-based Luqman Onikosi applied to stay in the UK on medical grounds after being diagnosed with Hepatitis B and chronic liver disease while studying at the University of Sussex. His health conditions – which are fatal if left untreated – claimed the lives of his two brothers in Nigeria, where support for his condition is not available.
Luqman has explored all available possibilities for treatment in Nigeria to no avail. Dr C. I. Anyanwu, a virology specialist, confirming in evidence submitted to the court hearing that ‘there is no definitive treatment available for the level of his condition he is experiencing in Nigeria at present.’
Being forced to return to Nigeria would be a death sentence for Luqman, and he and those close to him have lived for years in fear of this outcome. There is also great concern that wrenching Luqman away from his local support network would accelerate the decline of his health into severity.
Now Luqman’s friends and supporters are hoping that a Home Office decision to remove Luqman from the country will be overturned, after he won the right to appeal his case before a judge.
Hundreds of people have gathered in support of Luqman, with local musicians and community members coming forward to speak in his favour at events held at Brighton venues Komedia and the Rose Hill Tavern. Community donations to a crowd-funder have paid for Luqman’s legal costs and over 7,000 people signed a petition to support Luqman’s need to stay in the UK. Local bus company The Big Lemon have provided one of their buses for free to help transport his many friends to court on November 15th.
Some of Luqman’s many achievements and contributions to the community include being a lecturer at the Free University Brighton, volunteering for a community kitchen project, curating a series of lectures to advance knowledge of Hepatitis, organising events for Black History Month, and setting up a support group for other people facing chronic liver conditions in the city.
A letter signed by over 400 people, including Emeritus Professor Noam Chomsky, describes Luqman as both intelligent and dedicated – and states:
“Due to the lack of medical capacity to treat his condition in Nigeria, deportation is a death sentence for Luqman. He has already watched as his two brothers succumbed to the same disease, and if sent home he would inevitably face the same fate.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Further information on the campaign for Luqman is available here: https://www.campaignforluqman.org.uk/
Luqman’s plight has been featured in other international, national and local news articles such as:
The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/25/why-luqman-onikosi-remain-britain
The New Statesman
The Argus https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14292527.Thousands_raised_to_help_sick_Brighton_student_avoid_deportation/
To speak to someone from the campaign, email us.