- Minister of State, Home Office, Mr. Liam Byrne
- United Kingdom
Jack came to the UK in February 2006 fleeing persecution in Nigeria. He applied for asylum, but was immediately put in immigration detention, even though he was under 18 years old.
At the time Jack was unable to prove his age or his claims that he was gay and his asylum claim was refused. After 11 months in detention, Jack was granted bail on the strength of a report from a medical expert from the Helen Bamber Foundation, which provided evidence that Jack has scars and other injuries consistent with his experience of torture.
When Jack was 16 he had a relationship with another boy of his age in Nigeria. The other boy was the son of a local chief. On learning of this relationship, the family of his lover threatened to have him killed. They also went to the police, who issued a warrant for Jack’s arrest for homosexual activity and widely publicised this in Jack’s home area. The police came to Jack’s house looking for him.
Jack went into hiding, but was discovered by a group of men who recognised him. He was abducted and severely beaten and tortured for several hours. The men left Jack for dead, but having survived this ordeal, he sought to escape Nigeria with the help of other gay friends.
According to the law, religion and culture in Nigeria, homosexuality is strongly criminalised. Homosexuality is outlawed in the Nigerian penal code and Muslim law. However, in northern states under Muslim law the punishment can be death; in the civil penal code homosexuality can carry up to a 14-year prison sentence. The Nigerian authorities have issued a warrant for Jack’s arrest. Re-locating to a different region in Nigeria is not an option.
A new law forbids same-sex marriage and prohibits gay people from assembling and petitioning the government. It also allows prosecution of newspapers that publish information about same-sex relationships and religious groups that allow same-sex unions. Those who violate this law can be sentenced to five years in prison.
Jack's removal to Nigeria would undoubtedly place him at risk of persecution and would lead to the abuse of his human rights and possibly even death.
We, the undersigned, urge you to intervene on behalf of Jack Monday Ikegwu, a gay Nigerian asylum seeker and to grant him asylum in the UK or allow him to remain in the UK on compassionate grounds.
The Jack must stay! petition to Minister of State, Home Office, Mr. Liam Byrne was written by Jack Monday and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.