Despite appeal and a high profile campaign, a five-year-old Nigerian boy who was born in the United Kingdom has been deported back to Nigeria, a country he has never lived in.
The kid, Rafeeq Atanda and his mother, Bola Fatumbi, was deported in what is seen as an act of injustice even after more than 8,000 people had signed a petition demanding that he be allowed to stay.
The deportation took place after an 11th-hour appeal from Gateshead MP, Ian Mearns, and others, made calls for him to remain in the country.
The Evening Chronicle reports that despite being born in UK, Rafeeq spent the past week in a London immigration centre with his mum, before his removal from the country.
According to the London based newspaper, the UK Home Office said that his mother was first told in 2007 that she had no right to be in the UK, while later that year, she was jailed for nine months for possession of a false document, which she used to illegally obtain employment in the UK.
But the Gateheads community is worried that Rafeeq, who has some learning difficulties, faces life in a country he has never known, thousands of miles away from his friends.
MP Mearns said:
“I really do not think that the Home Office has given any weight to the welfare of Mrs Fatumbi’s son.
I cannot for the life of me think what a five-year-old boy, who has never set foot outside this country, has done to warrant his deportation to a country, Nigeria, that he knows nothing about and certainly never set foot in.
I really do think that this child’s position warrants that the whole case be reviewed.
Please ask the Minister to think about the rights of this child in considering his mother’s case.”