- Created: Thursday, 21 May 2009 14:32
- Written by Manchester FRFI
On 5 November 2007, after over two years’ campaigning, Eucharia Jakpa received a letter confirming she and her 7-year-old son Timeyi had won the right to stay in Britain. Eucharia and Timeyi had faced deportation to Nigeria, where they were at risk of being tortured or killed, having fled in May 2004, after her husband and then six-year-old daughter disappeared due to the ongoing conflict in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. The Home Office initially rejected their application, later advising them to ‘try other parts of Nigeria’. They were unable to appeal after their inept immigration service-appointed solicitor failed to represent them and their MP Gerard Kaufmann refused to help them.
In May 2005, Eucharia and Manchester Revolutionary Communist Group set up the Defend Eucharia and Timeyi Campaign (DETC). The campaign involved many people who organised fundraising socials, attended demonstrations, and went door-to-door in Gorton and Belle Vue, collecting signatures on petitions and letters of protest to the Home Office and her MP. They also supported and acted in solidarity with other campaigns including Samina Altaf and Family, Justina and Yonre Must Stay and Defend Abdullah Gawaan and Family.
DETC ran stalls in the city centre, at Longsight and Gorton markets, Gorton Park and Timeyi’s school in Abbey Hey, Gorton, and succeeded in sending over 900 individual letters of protest to the Home Office. On 25 September 2006, 2,250 DETC signatures were presented to Home Office minister Liam Byrne MP by campaign stalwart Phil Tarbuck at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester.
Under all this pressure, driven by Eucharia’s determination to fight for her and her son’s life and their right to stay in Britain, the Home Office have given in and granted them indefinite leave to remain. Without this campaign, Eucharia and Timeyi would have been deported long ago, facing the same fate as the 18,280 asylum seekers deported last year.
Throughout, Eucharia and Manchester RCG insisted that the campaign should be political, emphasising the link between racism in Britain and British imperialist exploitation abroad such as in Nigeria. Some so-called anti-deportation organisations boycotted the campaign because of the RCG’s involvement and refused to publicise or support it, but all these efforts did not succeed in isolating the campaign, which, due to its consistent activity, raised its profile, thereby bringing attention to the treatment of asylum seekers in Britain, and to what British companies like Royal Dutch Shell oil company were doing in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This campaign led to the forming of the North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group (NWASDG) in May 2006.
Manchester RCG would like to say big congratulations to Eucharia and Timeyi Jakpa for their wonderful and inspiring achievement. May their victory give inspiration to other asylum seekers campaigning against this racist Labour government, and strengthen the hand of those campaigning in support of refugees on a principled non-charity, anti-racist standpoint, in defence of all immigrants, against immigration controls and the oppression of refugees in Britain.
Manchester Revolutionary Communist Group
FRFI 200 December 2007 / January 2008