5 September 2002 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

USI support Nigerian family against government threat

Students held a candlelit vigil outside the Dublin Department of Justice on Tuesday to protest against the planned deportation of a Nigerian family.

The family, who have been served with a deportation order, originally fled from Nigeria in 1999 because 18-year-old Christina Onasanwo and six-year-old sister Bolu were to have their genitals mutilated - a tradition in Nigeria and many other African countries - under orders of their tribal elders. Up to 135 million women worldwide have endured the procedure, known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

June Coghlan, Women's Rights Officer at the Union of Students in Ireland, said Christina, who recently passed her Leaving Certificate and secured a third-level place, should be celebrating instead of facing "the horrific prospect of returning to her homeland".

Christina's mother, Elizabeth, has recently suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the impending deportation.

USI is appealing to Justice minister Michael McDowell to reverse the deportation order. Coghlan said: "If he fails to do so, he would be partially responsible for any harm that would be done to Christina or Bolu if they were forced to return to Nigeria."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1