?Okada? rider - removed and deprived of his dream of UK education - says: ?I will never give up...?
By Emmanuel Onyeche
Sunday, 14 Nov 2010
Removed from the United Kingdom in 2005 despite his possession of genuine travelling documents, Daniel Osagiede is still waiting for his ?Notice of Immigration Decision? for that action. The immigration department of the Home Office in the UK keeps mum and the British High Commission in Lagos say they cannot help him. In September 2009, his five years multiple entry visa to the UK expired and as he continues to ride his commercial motorbike, he tells Emmanuel Onyeche of his aborted UK dreams and his efforts to raise money to prosecute his case
In September 2004 in Lagos, Daniel Osagiede was issued with his fourth visit visa to the United Kingdom. The visa, with number UK417303D, was actually a multiple entry clearance for 5 years with which he travelled to the UK.
In August 2005 ? at Lewsham Bus Station in London ? three immigration officials accosted Osagiede and one of them asked him his name. Osagiede gave his name which the immigration official wrote down as he could comprehend.
The British High Commission in Lagos was contacted by the immigration officer after which, a code, (IS151A), was put on the passport of Osagiede who was subsequently removed from the UK within two days without a letter detailing the reasons for his removal.
Officials at Willizaki ? an Education and Services Consultant ? which Daniel contracted in Oshogbo, Osun State, to help him seek redress, say a mistake of fact was committed.
In a letter on behalf of Daniel to the Immigration Department of the Home Office in UK, Willizaki officials averred that in the electronic communication to the BHC in Lagos by the immigration officer, the name spelt to the High Commission stood as OSAGEDE instead of OSAGIEDE.
They noted that since the name on the High Commissions system reads Osagiede, it stands to reason that the High Commission?s answer would be that there is no Osagede in its system. And that was what actually happened when the immigration officer contacted the High Commission.
They suspected that Osagiede?s visa was not authentic and hence the removal, they noted.
?This is fundamentally the beginning of the human error which eventually occasioned miscarriage of justice viz the patently wrong and erroneous decision,? they stated after they said they had done private investigation.
That decision, they said, was untenable in law as it lacked merit and violated the convention rights of Osagiede. It also ran contrary to the provisions of the immigration laws, procedural rules, they added.
The immigration officer who accosted Osagiede was also accused of some sort of inarticulate motive since, according to Willizaki, he paid a visit to Osagiede?s house where he saw a copy of his passport which was not available when he was accosted. In the passport were copies of Osagiede?s expired but renewed visas as well as his name in its proper form and spelling.
?At this juncture, he, the immigration officer, ought to have realized his mistake and misgivings. But rather than readdressing such error, he appeared to have kept mute and proceeded with the removal as if to suggest some sort of inarticulate motives,? they wrote.
They noted that Osagiede had been harassed, intimidated and wrongly removed and expressly asked the UK home office to answer the pertinent question of what offence Osagiede committed.
A reply to that letter is still being awaited though Osagiede said it was sent through a courier service to the Home Office in UK. Another letter which Willizaki sent to the immigration service through a UK based Barrister, was also allegedly ignored.
Prior to the letters sent to the UK, Willizaki had also, through a letter in December 2007, sought the assistance of the Lagos post of the BHC ? where Osagiede got his visas ? to resolve what it thought was a simple matter of just reaffirming the authenticity of Osagiede?s visa and advising the London post to make amends for its error.
The BHC in Lagos replied in early 2008 without specifically stating whether Osagiede?s visa was genuine or otherwise. They simply advised Willizaki to address his concerns to the immigration office in the UK where Osagiede was removed from the point of entry.
?Unfortunately, we do not deal with such cases,? the BHC in Lagos stated in its reply. They (The BHC in Lagos) however made it clear that Osagiede would have been given a letter detailing the reasons for his removal.
Osagiede?s recourse to Nigeria, his dear country, to help him seek redress, has regrettably been of inconsequential value. In a September 2009 letter to the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja, Osagiede detailed his injustice in the hands of the British and requested to be assisted.
The reply he got, according to him, was NHRC telling him that they did not believe that he was wrongly removed from UK.
A disappointed Osagiede who hails from Idumogo village in Okpegho Local Government Area in Edo State wondered what kind of investigations the NHRC had carried out with the documents he attached to the letter he sent to them that warranted such a conclusion.
?It is because I am just an ordinary Nigerian that the human rights people have not bothered to go into details of the matter and help me. But I will never give up till I get justice,? he said.
Osagiede?s five years multiple entry visa given to him on the 27th of September 2004 expired on the 27th of September last year. He told our correspondent at his commercial motorbike base in Ajasa Command area of Agbado Oke Odo Local Council Development Area in Lagos that he was riding ?Okada? to take care of his family and raise money to prosecute his case.
He said he needed about N200,000 (As at September 2009) for a lawyer to assist him prosecute his case in the UK.
?Since that time, I have been through hell. My only source of income is this motorbike and I cannot recall how many times I have been molested by some passengers. This is not my dream in life,? he said adding that he was just about to begin his educational career in the UK when he was removed.
He regretted that the code in his passport which immigration experts deciphered to mean that his visa was suspect, had rendered his passport useless and prevented him from seizing other opportunities as he could not use it to travel out of the country.
However, the press officer of the BHC in Abuja, Mr. Hooman Nouruzi, said, ?Mr Osagiede was removed from the UK in 2005 after he was found to be working illegally in breach of the conditions of his visit visa.
?The UK Border Agency works closely with law enforcement agencies to track down those who flout the law, and where we find people working illegally we will seek to remove them from the country.
?Illegal immigration puts huge pressures on the public purse at a time when the country can least afford it. Together with the police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency we will continue to make life as difficult as possible for those who cheat the immigration system.?