Nigerian immigrants lack human rights awareness

Legal Information session for Nigerian held in UK

11 July 2011: Scarce information and lack of awareness on rights, duties, obligations and processes have been identified as some of the major challenges facing Nigerian migrants in Britain.
Nigeria’s High Commissioner Dr Dalhatu Tafida highlighted this in London at the beginning of free legal information session for the Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom (UK).

The occasion was organised by the British Nigerian Law Forum (BNLF) and the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK) in London. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported the topics of the session included general immigration issues such as family re-unification, “over-stayers” and European Economic Area (EEA) marriages and family permit. Discussions were also held on Tiers 1 and 4 of the Point Based System (PBS) visa requirements.

Tafida said the challenges had made it impossible for the migrants to and protect themselves from bias, injustice, victimisation and abuse.

He urged Nigerians in the UK to take advantage of the British, European laws and international human right instruments and conventions, to seek for legal redress and protection.

The Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Tafida saying: “Many Nigerians in this country, be they regular or irregular migrants, are often least aware of their rights and obligations under the law (British).

 He added that the law offered protection to everyone, including the weak and the less privileged regardless of status.

The representative explained that creating knowledge about legal protection, including the mechanisms for seeking redress was essential to the full enjoyment of human rights under any law.

Tafida appreciating the organisers for the initiative in UK expressed the hope that the session would impact significantly on those with immigration, legal and social challenges.

 Earlier, Babs Akinyanju, the Chairman of the BNLF expressed concern over the inability of many Nigerians with immigration challenges to access legal services in the UK, due to a lack of funds.

Akinyanju said in order to impact on the community, BNLF decided to partner with CANUK to provide free legal services to Nigerians with immigration problems under strict confidentiality.

He asserted free legal services were initiated at a smaller scale in the Nigerian Chaplaincy Church at Marylebone in 2006.

Akinyanju asserted they thought, in collaboration with CANUK with a wider reach, they would be able to provide these free services to the members of the Nigerian community better because they live in a democratic society.

Similarly, Bimbo Folayan, the CANUK Chairman, said that migration issue had become a major challenge for many Nigerians living in the UK and expressed the association’s commitment to the welfare of members of the Nigerian community in the UK.

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