Lagos - British High Commissioner to Nigeria,
Paul Arkwright, has dismissed media reports his country had recently deported
some 500 Nigerians.
He said the figures were inflated and inaccurate of the
United Kingdom’s policy concerning deportations of Nigerians when they had been
illegally present in the UK.
“This week some media reported that 500 Nigerians had
been deported from the UK, arriving on one flight to Lagos. Nigeria’s
immigration service confirmed to the media that number was incorrect,” said
He said the actual number was 48, all of whom were people
who had broken UK law by remaining in the country when they had “no right to be
These, he said, had been given full right of appeal, and
exhausted that legal process.
“Unfortunately, I fear this will not be the last example
of misreporting and I would ask all Nigerians to look with a critical eye when
such statistics are presented as facts.”
He said the links between the UK and Nigeria were “deep
and far reaching” and rooted both in their shared past and partnership for
Also Read: Nigeria to deport five Chinese over illegal textile imports
According to him, today up to 250 000 Nigerians are
living legally in the UK, making a significant contribution and adding to the
rich fabric of our society.
Every year around 130,000 Nigerians visit the UK from
Nigeria for both business and leisure. Nigerians who come to the United Kingdom
in accordance with our well publicised rules will always be welcome guests.
“The UK cannot ignore those who choose not to play by the
rules. Like Nigeria, the United Kingdom operates a robust but fair immigration
system,” said Arkwright.
He insisted the law in the UK was “very clear.”
“Thhose who are in the UK illegally and have made the
choice not to leave voluntarily will be required to leave. Decisions to remove
people are not made lightly and we adhere to international obligations –
particularly the European Convention on Human Rights – and our own clear
In 2014-15 global demand for UK visas from Nigerian
nationals was 168 000.
Of these, 73 percent of visit applications were
successful, a rise of 5 percent from the previous year.
- CAJ News