Seriously ill Leeds woman told to leave UK

Roseline Akhalu.
Roseline Akhalu.
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SUPPORTERS of a severely ill Nigerian woman who was spared deportation once have vowed to seek a judicial review after she has again been told to leave the country.

Roseline Akhalu, 46, was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2005, months after arriving in the UK to study for a masters degree at Leeds University.

But after completing her studies she was told by immigration bosses she must return to Nigeria.

After her doctors and supporters intervened, she was allowed to stay and eventually received a kidney transplant on the NHS.

Two years later she has again been asked to go home. Her last asylum application was rejected.

Widowed Mrs Akhalu has no other family in Africa able to support her. Dialysis in Nigeria is expensive and rare, costing the same per session as the monthly average national wage.

Her doctors have said that without the nine different drugs she needs, she could die within months.

At her latest monthly ‘reporting in’ session at Leeds’s UK Border Agency Office, she was told she had been booked on to a flight to Nigeria. She was re-admitted to St James’ Hospital feeling unwell and remains there.

Around 300 people have signed a petition to keep Mrs Akhalu in the UK and her backers – among them MP Fabian Hamilton – have also consulted with a top immigration lawyer.

Mrs Akhalu is living off the goodwill of her friends and supporters at Harehills’ St Augustine’s Catholic church and the St Vincent’s charity.

Friend Bernard Thurlow said: “I just have to sit in my car with my fingers crossed that she comes out.

“Last time she was told, ‘We are not going to detain you, but we have booked you on a flight leaving Heathrow at 10.30am.’ They know all the drugs she is on.

“If she goes back to Nigeria without the drugs, her kidneys will fail within a month. We have had an absolutely massive response in support of Roseline.” The church is supporting Mrs Akhalu financially and she receives no food vouchers or benefits.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “The UK Border Agency is committed to a fair system which provides emergency health care to those in need, and cares for the vulnerable who, through no fault of their own, cannot return home. However, where there is availability of treatment in the individual’s home country, then it is rightly expected that they should seek treatment in their own country.”

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