…they don’t like all kinds of things, government is not allowing. So they just abused me, kicked me. I tried to escape from them, that’s why I am here.

I came from Nigeria in 2010, the problem is, I got problem with my ex-wife. During that time I met a white guy ,R, he came to Nigeria. We met and along that, he liked me, he looked after me, that’s why I go with him. During that problem I don’t know where is my wife and my kids, its a long situation. You know in Nigeria, they don’t like all kinds of things, government is not allowing. So when people get out with white people, so they just abused me, kicked me. I tried to escape from them, that’s why I am here.

I met another people here, because of fear from my country I was here you know, I tell them about my story, they know what I am up to. He said don’t worry I will take care of you in this country, but then he treat me badly and abused me. Its a long story. I then left his house, to be honest I slept outside in the train station for 2 weeks before I get another place to stay. It makes me sad when I remember it. In detention here, a lot of people here different different story, what I know some people don’t like me now, I cant go back to my country. So I have to find ways to make myself, what I try to do, people that I met here just try to put me through, that’s why I am in detention here, because someone gave me the document to work, and then they caught me when I was working. I did not want to steal anything, I just wanted to feed myself and make my life comfortable for me. I just used it to find something to feed myself, how am I supposed to think about it. Because I am not a scrounger, I used this country to save my life. I am not here to disrespect this country or disobey the law. Just before I lack in education, I didn’t know what is right, what is not right. Until I get this problem, I met different people.

We share what happened to us here in detention, people can say okay I am a drug dealer, I did this and that. So if I said them about my story they say I am not supposed to be here and in like that. All I know here different people that are, they are not supposed to be here.

I applied asylum this year and another friend and they approached me with asylum, my application made in January this year , I applied for bail last week it was rejected.

My fear is if I have to go back, they know about my relationship with me and R that’s why I had to come here, this kind of thing they don’t allow it in my country, people no allow it, and government is not allow it, if they catch someone like that they will be killed and they will be put in prison , and secondly like my life, when I remember, that memory for my, I lost my family, my wife, I didn’t see them, I don’t know where they are , like since 2009 my life is too sad, I care about my life and I just do it on my own. I don’t know why this thing happened to me.

He was distressed, he was shouting they come to kidnap me , they come to kidnap me

Last night my friend Darren C. phoned me and he left his phone on and he was shouting that they were coming to get him. He was shouting that they were here to kidnap him, he was shouting shouting, I was listening, and shouting shouting shouting. He was distressed, he was shouting they come to kidnap me , they come to kidnap me. And then after that we were hearing a lot of noise they were banging the door, a lot of guys shouted shouted. And then after that, he was saying, I have got nothing, why are you coming for me, a lot of shouting. And then he hung up the phone. That was all I heard, the shouting.

This morning when I woke up, what happened about 7 o’ clock this morning, the riot squat came, I heard that his left arm was broken. I heard that he came down peacefully, but I also heard that his left arm was broken. He is in solitary confinement at the moment, so we don’t know what happened. From 9 pm to 7 am in the morning we were locked in . They came about 10 pm to take him away, the riot squat. I think this his when they broke his arm. I am concerned that his arm is broken. At midnight there was a lot of shouting and banging, a lot of banging . Everybody could hear him shouting and then they started banging the door. It was disruptive.

Everybody is sad and in a low mood today you know. It could happen to anyone of us. It was really horrible. I have been in this detention months for 23 months, I volunteer to go back but until now they haven said anything, why they are still keeping us. I am ready to go home, I don’t know why they are detaining me. I am just waiting for 3 months, I have applied and waiting. It is draining , I want to go back, they still haven’t removed me, next months I will be here for 2 years. Things like last night happen before. You know what happens they are locking us up right now (5pm), so I need to go.

They are detaining people for as long as they want, which is totally illegal and disproportionate

I am a victim of torture and the Home Office says a victim of torture should never be detained, if it confirmed by the medical practitioner in detention. I am a level 3 indicator rest, which makes me too vulnerable to be in detention. And right now, I have a case pending, and I am preparing for my bail at the moment. And I hope it will be a positive outcome as soon as possible. I think the Home Office is really not following their policy at all, in the sense that they are going to make up a policy and they are not following it. Which is affecting a lot of people in detention centre, vulnerable people in detention. They are detaining people for as long as they want, which is totally illegal and disproportionate.

Now my case is on judicial review in the high court for unlawful detention, they already filed the judicial review. Because I have been detained for more than 6 months and I am waiting for the positive outcome. I am suing the home office. Yet they are not releasing me. So I recently arranged to see doctor here in the centre. And I explained to him about my mental state, my mental heath. And I explained everything to him, low mood, agitation, loss of weight, lack of concentration and so on. He told me that he is going to forward the message to the HO, so they can review my case, that was last Thursday, 3 days ago. He told me he will forward the message, because I am totally unfit for detention .

Even people, some of my friends, they got a report from the doctor in December and they got release. I don’t what criteria they use to release people under rule 35. Some friends got released under that rule , but I didn’t, so don’t know. Some of them did commit a crime, they were on temporary admission and they didn’t comply. But for me I never committed any crime in the UK and I complied when I got temporary admission before I got detained. I was on temporary admission before I was in detention, I reported regularly in lunar house every two weeks. I was always complying with that. But now I have been in detention for more than 6 months, and I am a vulnerable who can be harmed through detention. The horrible part of it is when I call the Home Office, and ask for my caseworker they say I don’t have a caseworker. So anyone can open my file and write something about me. I called a couple of time, to ask for my caseworker. I have been seeing different people, the next month I see another case worker.

The system is just totally shit man. My case is better than other peoples who committed crimes and didn’t comply to the temporary admission conditions and then they are just in detention for 2 or 3 months. I have two cases pending and it is going take a lot of time, no one knows how long its going to take. So I think they should release me while I am waiting. Everyone needs their liberty.

Instead of bringing me to the hospital, they are making excuses. They don’t bring me to the hospital to see the specialists

Its really hard, because its like 4 months I am here and I feel like more than 4 years. My life, I have lot of personal problems, I have been here and I cannot get any treatments. Even the doctor has said to me it is about my mind. It is hard to get treatment, its lot of people every day people are coming. You have to share the room with people. Its very complicated because I have health problems, I have ear infections for years and years and many other problems.

When I was outside it was not a big things, first thing when I was outside I was going to the doctor, they made me a surgery. I was supposed to go to a surgery in October, I got paperwork about that, I provided everything to the healthcare in the detention centre. They cancelled it, they said its too hard to take me out from here. They said they arrange another appointment.

The food is really bad, I cant eat everything , the toilets are really dirty. It is really hard and I am getting lost and lost. It has been 4 months since they cancelled. What happened it is really not fair. You know the doctor gave me 4 different kinds of antibiotics, very powerful. Instead of bringing me to the hospital, they are making excuses. They don’t bring me to the hospital to see the specialists.

I said to the doctor, I showed it to the doctor outside, 4 different antibiotics in 2 weeks. He said this can only be done through an operation. I may loose my hearing. Something comes out of my ear, I have to wash my sheets every second day. Its very embarrassing. They try to solve it with tablets. He said he will refer me to the specialist. I am just going down with my mental problems, I am seeing the psychologist every week. Even the psychologist said it will not end very soon. I say just release me , it will be a quick fix. I haven’t talked to my parents for 2 months, I haven’t talked to my family for 2 months. I can’t find them anymore. I am scared.

They treat us like animals, what do we have? In the end of the day we are losers, I am happy that I still survive. I don’t know when I am going to go out, its like hell over here. I will definitely help everybody who is in the detention centre when I get out. I know how hard it is for people here, waiting in the queue for half an hour to get two paracetamol. I got flu, I got cold, I got cancer, I got pain in my leg, they just give you paracetamol. It is really hard for me, I feel like my future is getting spoiled. I thought I will live 100 years, but I don’t see my future from here. I got loads of problems back home, I am scared all of the time, am I going to be tortured, am I going be dead. I am not saying, just accept my case straight away. I know it takes time to go through my case, but I am spoiling every second every minute , but just release me, I will not run away, I am fearing my life, I will not go back home.

I have friends outside, it is a waste of time in here. Everything is not gonna be solved, my skin is going weird, one of the nurses said it is because of the water here. What can I do? Should I stop taking shower? I go every two weeks to the doctor, I say tell the home office. So many people say so many different kind of things. But at the end of the day I have to my body with that waters. One of my friends, he sent him back now, he had the same problem. After taking shower, he had red marks on his body. Mine is kind of, like a rash , in the morning when I wake up, it really hurts. I have been getting them on my hand, on my feet. I heard lots of people saying here, you can get a very itchy body, very dry body. You just press the button for the shower and the water comes. You have no choice. I had a problem under my foot and I cant wear shoes. At the end of the day I am in big problems. It is not fair. The officer just try to let go everything and make excuses. And we just wait for weeks and months and it may go on for years. I just pray for God that I don’t live for long, things are getting worse over here. Otherwise I should go mental. I just think its better to go mental, then they would release me. It is very complicated. For my appeal hearing I tried to adjourn it until I am fit enough until I can concentrate properly, its my life, you know. But they refused, I couldn’t really concentrate because of the pain. It was really bad the hearing. It is not really fair, the people over here they know what needs to be done. Before my hearing, my solicitor sent a letter to the health care over here in the centre and made a request to write a letter to say that I am not fit enough to go to the hearing. After the appeal hearing they health care replied and said I am not fit enough. But it was too late, they are playing with my life.

This is the life in Yarl’s Wood

In August I was taken back to Yarl’s Wood when I went to report. Why they take me back I don’t know. My passport was due to expire in a week and I saw a ticket for a few days time because they were trying to rush me through. I’ve been living in this country for 20 years. I have 8 grandchildren and 4 children in this country. 

Just after I finished visiting with my son they said they come to take me to isolation. I told them i am not going. They called security. Four big men came and manhandled me and put cuffs on me and slammed me on the floor. I am 52 years old, I had a heart attack last year, I have many sicknesses. I am a victim of torture. All this reminds me and brings back the memories of torture. One of the big men put his foot or his his big hand on my head to keep it down. They took me to Kingfisher which is the isolation. They throw me on the floor there, the floor is really dirty. 

I was so traumatised I wanted to die. I took some tablets. On the way airport i told the officers I had taken tablets and took me to hospital and had to flush my stomach. That flight was canceled because they tried to rush it through. So they took me back to Yarl’s Wood.

Whenever I see the guards I am afraid. I lock my room now. I never used to do that. I run away when i see the guards. 

This is the life in Yarl’s Wood.

On Saturday they locked us all up. We just wanted to see the people who were here for us and we couldn’t. All the women were really upset. We didn’t know this could happen in a country where I am supposed to be safe. You expect this to happen in Africa but not in Britain. So we are not eating, but we are weak.

This is like Guantanamo Bay. Really.

We are walking around like we are mad. We are not like this.

The guards don’t respect the women at all. Not the way they treat us here. 

We are not talking to them. We are just staying in our rooms or move away when they try talk to us.

They call it ‘Notorious Yarls Wood’, and it is notorious.

They don’t give you a ticket, they give you a window of time. They say, ‘You will go within these three days, or five days.’ They changed this about a month ago. Why is this? Because we would call our solicitors straight away and stop the flight. As I am talking there is a woman next door who is supposed to be taken to the airport today, deported to Pakistan. There were supposed to be 15 women deported yesterday, to Nigeria. There was a flight stop about two months ago, people refused to go. We grouped up for three days in one room, refused to eat and everything, and the charter flight didn’t happen. So now they takes one by one into isolation so we can’t be in solidarity and stop the flight together. The bus comes, the bus is called ‘THE JOURNEY BEGINS HERE’. That is the name of bus that takes the women. This bus took the women to Stansted Airport for a charter flight to go to Nigeria and Ghana. We really fear for our safety here. Our experiences here leave us with depression, sleep disruption and mental health. We are like zombies.

It really reminds us of the history you read about slaves. When they used to take people and put them in the ships, to take them and go and sell them. Now, they are doing this here. Yarls Wood is a slave ship. They take you from here and put you on a charter flight. The G4S, the owners of this place, they get a lot of money when they deport people out of the country. There was a woman here who wanted to go, her daughter bought her a ticket to leave but they didn’t like this because they don’t get all the money from it. They took their time to let her go, but when they want to deport you they move quickly, because they get money from it.

When you look in Yarls Wood there is no white person in here, we are all Indian, Chinese and African. It is racism. They don’t want any people of colour in this country. There are white Zimbabweans who are claiming asylum but they can do it outside. We are treated as animals. One officer said to us they get £300 a week for each of us.

The people in the Mediterranean, we are like this. This is our ship, we are drowning. We don’t have life jackets, we need lifejackets. Our life jackets are you people out there. Please help us.

I have been in England 20 years, I paid my taxes, paid my NI. My back is hurt from lifting older people, working with disabled children. I worked with all my heart. There is one woman here who is 87 years old. An Indian woman. Would you do this to your Grandmother? She cant even walk. If there was a Yarls Wood in Africa it would be all over the news. But it is happening in England and so nobody knows about it. The laws in England remain the most barbaric in the EU.

Out there they don’t know about people in here. We left our family outside. Our children are outside, our husbands are outside. The young girls here just got married and they left their husbands outside. They are breaking up families.

It is like we are in prison, these women have never done anything wrong. We left torture, we ran from rape. Then you think you are running away England where you can be safe.

We really need help in here. this places needs to be shut down. They are depriving us of our liberty. We came to England to be safe. Hearing that if you come to England you will be safe. You are running away from murders and torture, some people have had all their families murdered.

We are not terrorists. We are not harming anyone. There are people who have been killing people who are given bail. We haven’t hurt anyone. They lie, they say you are a threat to society. I am not a killer. Where are we to turn to for help? The whole world needs to know. Tell the BBC. They call it ‘Notorious Yarls Wood’, and it is notorious.

Please help us, they are just taking us and throwing us in the planes.

The detainees, we saved his life.

See last week he smashed one of the classrooms, the person who tried to kill himself today. In the ESOL class he smashed the class up last week. 

You know the funny thing is there should always be officers here – there should always be an officer at the desk on the first floor, and on the ground floor where we have breakfast. There should be someone there too. If they were in their posts they would have seen the man, they would have seen him hanging there. 

They don’t even say thank you. The detainees, we saved his life. The officers, they show no remorse. 

The manager of activities just saw the camera footage and she was surprised he didn’t break his neck. Thats when she said thank you – you’ve done a good job. She said he was the same person that smashed up the classroom last week.

None of them care what happened. They haven’t asked us any questions about it. No questions asked.

I hope people find out what is going on in here you know. The tax payers need to know what is happening in these detention centres. It is so bad.

This man he jumped from the second floor trying to hang himself

Today was crazy. Really crazy you know. This man he jumped from the second floor trying to hang himself. It was inside the building in the landing. There were no officers on the scene. 

This is what happened. I went inside my room to brush my teeth and when I came out he had put the sheet around the metal bed frame and around his neck, and jumped. We pressed the alarm bell three times but nothing happened. They didn’t come for like 20 minutes half an hour. Only one officer ran the others walked like it was normal and they were smiling. They were smiling and they joked about it after. 

The bell didn’t go off. The bell should be there for anyone to press if they need it but it didn’t go off. This guy would be dead if it wasn’t for the detainees. The staff weren’t even there. When the police came they said they didn’t need to talk to us, to ask us questions but we were the only ones around there – the officers weren’t there. 

You see the guy who did that he was walking around this morning and he was acting strange. If the staff saw him they would know something was wrong but they were in their office having cups of tea. They should be walking around every morning seeing how everyone is but they are always in the office having tea. 

We have cameras in here. He had bedding wrapped round his arm from 8 o’clock in the morning. If I saw someone walking with bedding first thing in the morning I would know something was wrong. The cameras are suppose to keep us safe so the officers can respond quickly. He walked passed many cameras. But they didn’t clock anything. I see him every day I knew something was wrong but I’ve never seen anything like this before. I didn’t know he would do that. I ran out straight away and pulled the bed sheet up but then i realised i was making it worse – I was helping him die so I let it go. I didn’t know what to do. Someone else came straight away and knew what to do, he must have seen this before. He lay on the ground and held his hand to hold him up. We tried to undo the knot but it was hard to do so other people were lifting up his feet from the bottom and from the top people were trying to undo the knot. He would be dead if it wasn’t for the other detainees.

He feels like he fails something but no one should feel like that. We should be looked after by the staff and the home office but you don’t get that in here. He didn’t say anything was wrong. I never saw him speak to anyone in this place. We have to keep ourselves occupied to cope with this place, but you have to do your own thing. 

This place is really horrible. They don’t treat you like a human being, they treat you like an animal, like a foreigner. I’ve been in two other detention centres but this is the worst. The hygiene, the food everything. It is just the way the place is. You can not trust the staff. You just can’t. To them its like ‘immigrants, immigrants’. In other removal centres you have a much better relationship with the staff. If you have a problem you can speak with them but here you can’t. You can only talk to your friends but your friends have their own problems you know. The staff they do they get trained to deal with stuff in here, but they don’t do anything. You never see the staff, the sit at their desks all day having cups of teas. You ask for something and it takes a week to get done. You can’t trust people like that. 

They don’t care. If one person dies its a number, they just put a number down. When people get deported they are happy and say ‘one person down, one less person to stress about’. 

The police just stood in the place where the guy tried to commit suicide for 20 minutes. They should check the cameras, they should take the statements. They didn’t take any of our statements. They should take statements from the people that saw what happened to see what happened. But they said they didn’t need to. Then they left.

The fire alarm bell doesn’t work. The question everyone should be asking is why that wasn’t working. Everywhere you go the fire alarm should be working. If there was a fire what would you do. If the officers didn’t hear all the screaming they wouldn’t have come. Only once I have heard it working. Lets say a fire happened, or a riot. They are over the other side having cups of tea and laughing. In prison the officers walk around and check. This place is the worst place I have ever been. They feed you when you are supposed to be fed and that is it. You do your own life. You have to cope. 

They’ve taken him off to hospital. I don’t know where. We won’t hear anything about the man. Depends who is in the same unit but the staff won’t tell us. We need to get answers, we all saw it. ‘We can’t tell you, its confidential’ they say. But we need to know he is OK so we feel OK. The only way we find out is through the other detainees. ‘He is fine, he is doing good, don’t worry…’ thats all we want to know.