A Nigerian gay rights activist, Aderonke Apata, has won a 13-year battle to be granted asylum in the UK. Aderonke has over the years been denied asylum on grounds that she was faking her sexuality. She launched a campaign globally via social media for the UK government to grant her asylum as she feared being killed if she ever gets repatriated to Nigeria. She was denied asylum in 2015 after the presiding judge said her disposition did not portray that of a lesbian lady. Even after she shared photos with her Nigerian lesbian partner, Happiness Agboro, the UK Home office still said they do not believe her claim.
Aderonke expressed delight after her application for asylum was finally granted today. Speaking to The Independent, she said
“I overwhelmed with gladness but remain angry knowing that there are other LGBTI people seeking asylum facing the same fear of deportation that I had just overcome. I was just crying on the phone with my solicitor when he broke the news to me. I must have embarrassed him. I wasn’t assimilating all of the information he was giving to me on the phone as I was crying and singing.”
She expressed anger at the Home office in the UK for accusing her of lying about her sexuality.
“Despite the gains in acceptance of LGBTI people in the UK, LGBTI people seeking asylum in the UK’s situation remains precarious and appears not to fit into the wider LGBTI community. The Home Office needs to catch up with the rest of the UK, drop its vile ‘proof of sexuality’ policy and move on from 1967. All LGBTI people seeking asylum in the UK want , like anyone else, is to be treated with fairness, dignity and humanity. Having been forced to flee by hate and intolerance at home, being branded a liar by the Home Office is demeaning and cruel for LGBTI people seeking asylum. I hope the Home Office will look back, reflect on my case and treat everyone with the decency and respect they deserve.”