Tuesday 6 December 2016

Woman who says pastor father killed by Muslims loses asylum appeal

Tim Healy

Published 19/11/2015 | 15:49

The Four Courts, Dublin
The Four Courts, Dublin

A MOTHER-of-three has lost an appeal against being refused refugee status after she fled Nigeria fearing persecution following what she claims was the death of her Christian pastor father in a beating by Muslims.

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The High Court ruled the application for asylum by the 40-year-old woman and for her children, ages 8, 6 and 4,  was correctly rejected by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT).

She claimed that following the appointment of Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, as president of Nigeria in 2010, Muslims were angry. 

They came to their church in Kaduna, in the north of the country, and started beating people including her father and continued to beat him until they killed him, she said.

A friend helped her and her children move to the south where they lived for about three months.  

When she returned to Kaduna  she was told people from her church had killed the head of the mosque and there were people looking for her.

With further help from a friend, who hid them for a while, they travelled to Ireland and arrived in Dublin Airport in August 2010 where they applied for asylum.

The Refugee Applications Commissioner rejected her application saying she had failed to provide any evidence to substatiate her claims which affected her credibility.  It also found there was no objective evidence that she could not have moved elsewhere within Nigeria where she would be safe.

On appeal, the RAT also rejected her application for reasons including that she had moved and lived safely outside Kaduna for three months.

She then challenged that decision in the High Court.

Ms Justice  Carmel Stewart said that, among the grounds  for rejecting her case,  was the fact she had not sought the protection of Nigerian police because she was claiming persecution by a non-state group.  This undermined her claim, the judge said.

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