Roseline Akhalu was detained once again on 16 May 2012 and is at risk of deportation to Nigeria, where doctors warn she will die if she cannot afford medical care.
Ms Akhalu developed end stage renal failure unexpectedly while she was at the University of Leeds on a study visa. In July 2009 she underwent a kidney transplant at Leeds General Infirmary and she needs to be maintained on immunosuppressant drugs if she is to live.
Ms Akhalu’s Consultant, Dr R J Baker, has stated in a letter dated 22nd November 2010 to her former Member of Parliament Fabian Hamilton, that unless Ms Akhalu is able to continue taking her required medication, her transplant kidney will die and she would have to resort to dialysis again. Since she cannot afford the cost of this treatment, the consequence of removing Ms Akhalu would be fatal within a matter of months or even weeks.
Ms Akhalu has never been allowed to work, but since 2007 she has been supported by parishioners from St Augustine’s RC Church, Harehills and the St Vincent de Paul Society in Leeds.
Roseline is much loved and respected by her fellow parishioners and many people in the wider community. In spite of her health problems, Roseline has volunteered tirelessly in the parish and is actively involved in a number of community-based groups.
When she was last taken to Yarl’s Wood Roseline was forbidden from using any toilet facilities by her Reliance escorts. After this degrading treatment, which is the subject of an official complaint, on Wednesday this week she was again transported with Reliance escorts, and is now in Yarl’s Wood detained far from her doctors, friends and supporters at considerable cost to the tax payer. No removal directions have been set and the decision to detain was made without knowledge of the listing of her oral permission hearing, leaving her lawyer Hani Zubeidi to declare:
‘to detain under those circumstances is bewildering.’
Roseline’s MP Greg Mullholland and the Right Reverend John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, have both expressed their support for Roseline. Greg Mulholland has stated:
‘The way that the UKBA have handled Roseline’s case has been totally unacceptable, especially given her severe medical condition. The most recent detention, given that she already has an appeal hearing set for the 24 July, is simply a disgrace. Roseline should be released immediately and I have contacted Damian Green, Minister for Immigration, requesting that this happen.’
Dr James Tattersall, one of Roseline’s consultants at St James Hospital in Leeds is gravely concerned that she will miss her clinic appointment on 23 May if she is not released. He writes:
‘Roseline has broken no laws. Her kidney failure is not cause by anything she could control. We saved her life by dialysis and transplant while she was visiting the UK. If we send her back to Nigeria, she will not live long, our efforts and generosity will be wasted. Others facing less provable danger are given asylum. Be generous, let Roseline stay.’
Esmé Madill, is a consultant in the not for profit sector, works with Shpresa Programme and the Women’s Therapy Centre.