General News

Local community comes together to support activist’s quest to stay in UK

Besi Besemar November 15, 2018

Friends and supporters of a migrant community activist hope for good news as his appeal to stay in the UK goes before a judge today.

Luqman Onikosi
Luqman Onikosi

AFTER developing fatal chronic liver disease Brighton-based man Luqman Onikosi will today appeal the Home Office decision to remove him from the country this week, at a court tribunal today, Thursday, November 15.

Brighton-based Luqman Onikosi applied to stay in the UK on medical grounds after being diagnosed with Hepatitis B and chronic liver disease while studying at the University of Sussex. His health conditions – which are fatal if left untreated – claimed the lives of his two brothers in Nigeria, where support for his condition is not available.

Luqman has explored all available possibilities for treatment in Nigeria to no avail, with virology specialist, Dr C.I Anyanwu, confirming that: “there is no definitive treatment available for the level of his condition he is experiencing in Nigeria at present.”

Being forced to return to Nigeria would be a death sentence for Luqman, and he and those close to him have lived for years in fear of this outcome. There is also great concern that wrenching Luqman away from his local support network would make the extreme decline of his health more rapid.

Now friends and supporters are hoping that a Home Office decision to remove Luqman from the country will be overturned, after he won the right to appeal his case before a judge this week.

Hundreds of people have gathered in support of Luqman, with local musicians and community members coming forward to speak at events held at Brighton venues Komedia and the Rose Hill Tavern on his behalf.

Community donations to a crowd-funder have paid for Luqman’s legal costs and over 7,000 people signed a petition to support Luqman’s need to stay in the UK. Local bus company The Big Lemon have provided one of their buses for free to help transport his many friends to court today.

Some of Luqman’s many achievements and contributions to the local community include being a lecturer at the Free University Brighton, volunteering for a community kitchen project, curating a series of lectures to advance knowledge of Hepatitis, organising events for Black History Month, and setting up a support group for other people facing chronic liver conditions in the city.

A letter signed by over 400 people, including Emeritus Professor Noam Chomsky, describes Luqman as both intelligent and dedicated – and states:

“Due to the lack of medical capacity to treat his condition in Nigeria, deportation is a death sentence for Luqman. He has already watched as his two brothers succumbed to the same disease, and if sent home he would inevitably face the same fate.”

For more details about Luqman’s campaign to remain, click here: