Luqman Onikosi, who came to the UK from Nigeria in 2007, continues to campaign for his right to remain in the county.
Onikosi graduated with a degree in Economics and International Relations from Sussex University and has worked at the Nigerian High Commission in London.
However, Luqman has been unable to graduate with his master’s degree from Sussex University. In May 2015, The Home Office informed the university that Luqman no longer had the right to study as his leave to remain had been rejected.
The University of Sussex suspended Luqman and have not graded his dissertation despite it being submitted. The University told us they could not reveal the reasons for this as it would be a breach of data protection rules. Their website reads: “Graduation is an extremely special occasion for all involved, from graduating students to their proud families”.
Enia Dellepiane, a campaigner and friend of Luqman’s, told The Badger “I can not understand the reason for stopping him having his masters… It makes you worried that the university may not stick up for you…
“I don’t know what has been going on between the university and Home Office. I do understand the university has to follow rules but which rules made them take that decision [to not give Luqman his master’s degree]?”
The Badger talked to Enia about the continuing campaign for his right to stay in the UK and his upcoming immigration tribunal on November 15.
Despite the campaign garnering less public attention than before, they told us that campaigners still meet regularly and will soon meet weekly ahead of Luqman’s tribunal.
The group have also organised several events in aid of ‘precarious migrants’ and Luqman including ‘Up All Night to Keep Luqi’ at Komedia and an upcoming music event on November 2nd,’Life of an ‘Unworthy’ Migrant’.
Enia told The Badger that they are “supporting [the campaign] however I can”.
Enia was present when Luqman Onikosi submitted his master’s dissertation and said “To me it’s weird he hasn’t had it marked. One does not have to be physically present to mark. They can be abroad and hand in and still have it marked.
“Sussex has a reputation of protecting people in many ways and activism. People sticking up for each other and yet this happens.”
Speaking about the tribunal, Enia added “The court date on the 15th is the last shot pretty much.
“Hopefully the Home Office will then turn up and the judge will decide he will be able to stay. There will be a need for a contingency plan”.
A group of Luqman’s friends and supporters will be attending the court hearing in support. “We’re trying to get as many people as we can to the court date… The Big Lemon is helping out with a free bus and we have 51 seats to fill to go to the hearing.
“Those seats will be reserved for those who can’t afford to go to London. We are organising groups closer to the court date who will travel by train,” Enia told us.
“We won’t be disrupting the proceedings but showing that we are there for him [Luqman]… The lengthy proceedings and limitations are not ok” Enia added.
Treatment for Luqman’s health condition in Nigeria is considered inadequate compared to the treatment that he receives in the UK. “It will be disastrous on his illness if he goes. It’s hard to touch on the subject [with luqman] but I hope there is a good contingency plan.” Enia Dellepiane said. Luqman lost two brothers to the same condition in Nigeria which he says was a result of a lack of treatment and facilities.
As Luqman’s friend, Enia speaks highly of him saying: “He has been doing so many things for his friends and engaging with different communities. When I met him he lectured me on Foucault… he doesn’t talk about him to the same extent as before. He’s still academically involved.
“He has been here something like ten years… I’m myself an immigrant … If I’m sent back to whatever country it says on my passport what kind of life will that be?
“You spend all this time building your life here and it almost amounts to nothing. It will be interesting to see what happens to us after Brexit too.”
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