Week eight at Warwick was Pride Week, an annual event in which the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community is promoted, running numerous events, classes and socials in the hopes of
Week eight at Warwick was Pride Week, an annual event in which the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community is promoted, running numerous events, classes and socials in the hopes of raising awareness about pressing issues and introducing LGBT Warwick alumni. One of the events organised this year was a talk by Hope Nwachukwu, a homosexual Nigerian man currently living in Coventry. Despite homosexuality being illegal in Nigeria, he is being threatened with deportation to his home country, where he faces daily risks of harassment, both verbal and physical, with the threat of execution.
Nigeria, home to more than 150 million citizens, has strong views against homosexuality with legislation condemning same sex activity, and the threat of capital punishment as a result of breaching these rules. Nwachukwu experienced heavy discrimination when living in Nigeria. After his father passed away, he was adopted by a family friend, who was supposed to raise him as his father would have done. Upon realising that Nwachukwu was homosexual, his adoptive father subjected him to brutal physical harassment. Moreover, local residents soon discovered his sexuality, and put him through months of torment, including being forced to witness the sexual assault of his sisters.
These horrendous events highlight the struggle that homosexual citizens face in predominantly anti-gay communities, in which verbal and physical abuse can not only become a part of your everyday life, but can also begin to impact upon the lives of family members. Despite currently living in Coventry, Nwachukwu is being threatened with deportation back to Nigeria, an action that would have severe consequences on his life; he would either be forced to hide who he was (‘be discreet’, as he had been advised), or put his life in danger every single day.
Nwachukwu and many others have been assisted through ordeals such as these by organizations such as Movement for Justice. Visiting Warwick in conjunction with Hope Nwachukwu, Movement for Justice is an organisation that campaigns and aims to produce a movement for the future in which everyone can possess equal rights, with the ability to express their culture and identity fully, without any legal or social constraints. Aiming to build a civil rights movement, Movement for Justice has already succeeded in cases such as preventing a homosexual man from Tanzania, Edson ‘Eddy’ Cosmas, from being deported.
Cosmas suffered similar issues in Tanzania, and therefore deportation would have had the same consequences as it currently has for Nwachukwu. Despite being retained (and suffering deplorable, de-humanizing conditions) in a detention centre, Cosmas became involved in the Movement for Justice group, who assisted him in campaigning for his release. The organization prepared an extensive case, illustrating that he was in fact homosexual (so as to avoid suspicion that he was lying in order to continue residing within the country), and that he had previously been tortured and would be highly likely to face death upon returning to his home country. The success of cases such as these illustrates the importance of assisting in campaigns against the deportation of citizens such as Nwachukwu.
As the annual Pride Week draws to a close, it is essential that we consider how we can assist those who find themselves in troubling conditions in constructing improvements to their lives. Citizens such as Hope Nwachukwu would definitely be grateful for our support; a Facebook group is being created which details further information about Nwachukwu and those in similar situations, and how best we can lend a hand with these cases. Signing petitions against the deportation, and composing statements about the state of urgency for the British government to realise the dire need of cases such as these will undeniably help, as will following any news and recent activity on the soon-to-be-created Facebook group.
Finally, simply visiting the website of organizations such as Movement for Justice (www.movementforjustice.org.uk), finding out more information and spreading the word will contribute immensely to liberation from the struggle. It is essential that we come to the aid of causes such as these, because without our help, the consequences could indeed be fatal.