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Sussex University Protest Over Home Office Decision To 'Send Nigerian Student Luqman Onikosi To His Death'

09/03/2016 16:44 GMT | Updated 09/03/2016 19:59 GMT
Novara Media

Students at Sussex University have occupied a building to protest the home office's decision to deport a student "to his death".

Luqman Onikosi is a 36-year-old student at Sussex, who came to the UK in 2007 and was later diagnosed with hepatitis B. Although the disease is manageable in the UK, it cannot be treated in his home country. His two brothers have already died of organ failure from the same condition, and student protesters say Onikosi is being "sent to his death".

After he returned to study at Sussex for his master's degree, the Home Office informed the university Onikosi's leave to remain application had been rejected. In late January 2016, he received a letter from the Home Office regarding his situation, which was dated 2015.

The university terminated his degree, even though the student was writing his dissertation at the time.

Students at the university have occupied conference centre Bramber House to protest the university working with the government to plan Onikosi's deportation.

SUSSEX HAS BEEN OCCUPIED!Occupiers have taken the conference centre, angry at the way that the univeristy and the Home Office are working together to send a student to his death. #DontDeportLuqman

Posted by National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts on Wednesday, 9 March 2016

In a previous interview, Onikosi said his deportation sentence was "shocking".

"If unforeseen circumstances occurs while an international student is getting their education, there should be a leniency in the way [the government] deals with the situation.

"For me, going back home is more about 'how do you want to die?' Do you want go home and die slowly? And there's nothing that can be done for you? Or do you want to stay here and fight."

Onikosi says he has attempted suicide "many times" when facing living with his disease, and added he felt like a "cash cow", saying there should be "empathy" shown by the government.

A University of Sussex spokesperson said: “We understand the group of students are supporters of Mr Onikosi, a former student of the University. The students are currently based in a conference room in one of our buildings. We are, and have always been, very sorry to know of Mr Onikosi’s illness. The status of Mr Onikosi’s visa is a directive from the Home Office and the University is not able to influence that decision in any way.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: "All cases are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.

"The individual's application was fully considered and has been through the appeal process. An independent immigration judge found that he has no right to remain in the UK.”