Justice served or denied? The case of Nigerian Junior Bayode and the British Home Office

The 22-year old Junior Bayode, who is currently serving 11 years in prison in the United Kingdom for manslaughter, is to be deported to Nigeria on the completion of his jail term despite never having been to Africa.

At the age of 16, Bayode took part in the mob killing of 15-year old Sofyen Belamouadden at the Victoria Underground Station in central London almost seven years ago, but was convicted of the crime in 2012.

From behind bars, Bayode has decried the decision of the Home Office to deport him when he is due to be freed in 2019. Though he was born in Germany, the young man was taken to the UK when he was just nine months old and has lived there his entire life.

“I may not have been born here but all I know is the British way of life,” he wrote in a letter to Inside Time, a British national newspaper for prisoners and detainees, adding that he had never travelled out of the UK or been to any other country since his arrival over 20 years ago.

According to the Immigration Act 1971, a person is excluded from a deportation process if he or she:

  1. is a British citizen (in law); or
  2. has a right of abode or are a Commonwealth citizen who was ordinarily resident in the UK on the 1st January 1973; and
  3. has lived in the UK continuously for five years prior to the offence or deportation decision.

While it is not clear whether or not Bayode is a British citizen, number 3 should exclude him from deportation. However, if that is not the case, Bayode can appeal the order of deportation on one or more of several grounds as suggested by Richmond Chambers.

  1. If he would be at real risk of harm if returned to Nigeria.
  2. If he would be separated from his family when deported.
  3. If he has lived in the UK for a long time.
  4. If he has stronger ties to the UK, which could be deduced by certain factors. Some of the factors includes length of residency in the UK, relationship status and strength, health conditions and in the case of a crime, whether the individual is likely to offend again.

Considering most of these factors, Bayode is excluded from deportation and stands the chance of getting a successful appeal but for the “deport first, appeal later” policy introduced by Home Secretary, Theresa May, last year in a bid to introduce a tougher deportation regime in the UK and across Europe. According to the 22-year old, he was distraught when he learned that he could only appeal after deportation.

“The Home Office have disregarded everything about me; from my childhood to the relationship I have with my partner of 4 years, to the bonds between myself, my mother and siblings and all for what?…My past, my present and my future is firmly rooted in British soil, hence why I am struggling to understand why I have been served with a deportation order to a country I have never been to – Nigeria,” he wrote in his letter.

Did the Home Office not consider any of the above factors before issuing a deportation order to Bayode, or like he said, did they turn a blind eye in favour of their pursuit to reduce net migration at any cost?

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