Following the exit of United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU), a Nigerian Lawyer based in the UK and a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Wales and England, Charles Ete has warned that more Nigerians staying in the UK illegally or whose visa had expired faced deportation.
Addressing journalists after the Business Law conference in Abuja, Ete noted that most Nigerians had relied on the European Convention on human rights article 8 to escape deportation even after the expiration of their visa, stressing that with the exit of the UK from the EU, the law which was an EU law domesticated by the UK would no longer be effective.
According to him, “there are a lot of Nigerians living in the UK and sometimes they have to go through a lot of trouble to try to get their papers. As a lawyer in the UK, I represent a lot of these clients trying to get their papers.
“In the UK there have been a lot of situations where the government has been trying to remove or deport some nationals because they don’t have their papers sorted; either they have overstayed or they are there illegally. Illegally in the sense that they went with perhaps student visa and it was for certain number of years and that year has passed and they have not been able to renew their papers. So they have overstayed.
“Some of them try to regularise their stay while others don’t. They take the risk of finding a job and living there. The effect is this, for those who are there illegally, or overstayed, when they are caught up with, and maybe the government wants to deport them, there is this European law called the European Convention on human rights article 8 and that article deals with respect for family and private life.
“It has been a tool in which we have used to stop a lot of deportation. Because simply, the government wants to deport somebody and maybe the person has a family for example in the UK. Maybe he has a child who was born there or he has stayed for some time and has developed certain roots. What that law says is the government must respect the family life of that person. By doing that, it stops a lot of deportation”.
That was a European law which the UK domesticated,” he said.
Ete emphasised that more Nigerians seeking Visas to the UK might find it difficult, while calling on the Nigerian government to create the enabling environment and some incentives that would attract Nigerian professionals in the diaspora to return home and invest.
He stressed that most Nigerians in the diaspora were worried about the insecurity back home and urged the government to also improve information to Nigerians outside the country, adding that some Nigerians abroad wanted to return home but were not sure where to begin.
Ete pointed out that the issue of insecurity, corruption and power supply was impeding free flow of business. He said many foreign investors were worried about the spate of kidnapping in the country, urging the government to do more to improve security.