Hospital and Prison Action Network provides accommodation in Abeokuta for Nigerians deported from the UK

LONDON-based Nigerian charity the Hospital and Prison Action Network (HPAN) has concluded the construction of 12 self-contained flats in Abeokuta the Ogun State capital to serve as accommodation for any Nigerian deported from the UK and in need of somewhere to stay.


In the first such development of its kind, HPAN, a member of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk), decided to act because a lot of Nigerians who get deported from the UK end up having nowhere to stay. HPAN are now offering them free accommodation for three months at their halfway home to enable such deportees find their feet.


According to Dr Nathaniel Oyinloye, the chief executive of HPAN and its sister organisation Hospital and Prison Welfare Initiative (HPWI), this programme will end the problem of some deportees having to sleep at the Lagos airport. He added that all deportees will be provided with accommodation for three months, after which their cases will be reviewed.


Dr Oyinloye said: "We wish to inform Nigerians living in the UK that if any of them are deported by the government and are looking for a place to stay for a short time in Nigeria that they are welcome to our halfway home/deportee centre. For the people affected who are willing to use our service, we also have a two bedroom flat at Ojuelegba in Surulere, Lagos State, that can be used as a transition point from where the person(s) are transported to our main rehabilitation and resettlement centre that comprises of 12 self-contained flats in Abeokuta, Ogun State.


"Anyone released from the UK is eligible to stay there for three months and their stay is renewable subject to meeting the terms and conditions including being a good neighbour to other occupiers and not damaging the property. We are starting off with the UK but we will be extending the programme to other countries too."


A letter outlining this service has been forwarded to the Nigerian high commission in London and HPAN now plans to design a leaflet and make sure it is widely available. According to Dr Oyinloye, this leaflet will be widely distributed at immigration detention centres across the UK, so that all our people are informed about the development.


Judy Akuta, Canuk's welfare secretary, said: "This is a wonderful initiative from one of our member organisations and hopefully, it will go some way to ameliorating the agony some of our people face when they are deported. A lot of Nigerians get deported after say 10 years of living in the UK and when they arrive in Lagos have nowhere to go because life has moved on since they left, so this will at least allow them to find their feet.


"With the UK government stepping up deportations, this kind of initiative became necessary as more and more deportees were being left stranded upon arriving in Nigeria. Canuk will be helping to spread the word to our member-organisations, so they can forward it on to their individual members."


Of late, the UK has introduced several Draconian immigration restrictions aimed at restricting the number of immigrants on the country. These new laws are part of the plans of the Conservative government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to bring immigration, which currently stands at around 1m, down.


For instance, there are now restrictions on the families of foreign students coming to join them in the UK and international students are no longer allowed to switch out of the student route and into work routes before their studies have been completed. This is being backed up with an increase in deportations, including to Rwanda under a controversial programme.