News

The U.S. Plans To Deport Up to 4,000 Somali Migrants

Somalia's U.S. ambassador, Ahmed Isse Awad, says that the U.S. plans to send around 4,000 Somali asylum-seekers back to their homeland.

On Saturday, Somalia's U.S. ambassador, Ahmed Isse Awad, shared news of the U.S. government's plan to deport up to 4,000 Somalis back to their homeland.


"We learned through immigration sources that the total number of the Somalis that are in the books of [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to be removed are close to 4,000," he told VOA. "Most of them are not in detention centers."

Around 170 Somali migrants have been sent back to Mogadishu since the embassy reopened in November 2015 for various reasons. Some were rejected asylum-seekers, while others were accused of breaking the law, reports VOA. Many of those whose applications have been denied still remain in detention centers or prisons, said Awad.

He received news that just under 300 Somali's are scheduled to be sent back in the upcoming months. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), recently arrested 82 migrants near Washington D.C., from 26 different nations. About 68 of them are said to have a criminal record. Others face deportation for overstaying their visas, ICE told VOA.

In previous years, Somali migrants were commonly granted clemency upon arriving in the U.S., but rather unsurprisingly, policies have stiffened under Trump.

The U.S. is not the only country intensifying its immigration policies either. Last month, activists in the UK blocked a mass deportation flight carrying Nigerian and Ghanaian asylum-seekers from leaving London's Stansted Airport—bringing the country's hostile immigration laws to light.

Popular
Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How CKay's 'Love Nwantiti' Became the World's Song

Nigerian singer and producer CKay talks to OkayAfrica about the rise of his international chart-topping single "Love Nwantiti," his genre-defying sound and the reasons behind this era of afrobeats dominance.