I was just so happy to be back in the UK closer to the memories of my Parents

“I was born in Clapton, London, in 1984. My Mother, Father and I lived in the UK together in a house and my Aunt regularly visited – my Aunt was residing in the UK at the time and has continued to reside in the UK until today. She is a British National.

My parents took me to Ghana at the age of five in 1989 for a holiday with the intention to return to the UK. Unfortunately for me they died not long after we arrived in Ghana in a car accident. I was not with them in the car but I was told by my Uncle about what had happened. I do not remember much as I was very young. The only relative I had in Ghana was a long-distance family friend who was not blood related but I called him my ‘Uncle’. He looked after me in Ghana after the passing of my parents. My Aunt and Uncle from the UK sent money regularly to him to look after me.

Travel to UK at the Age of 17/18

My ‘Uncle’ in Ghana who took care of me, arranged for me to return back to the UK when I was 17/18 years old because I had immediate family living there who were very willing to take care of me; my Aunt and Uncle in the UK also realised I was always sad and felt disconnected to Ghana because I kept on saying to them since I was little I wanted to go back home to the UK as that is what I always have considered my home. My ‘Uncle’ in Ghana gave me a Ghanaian passport to use for travel to the UK. As far as I was concerned there was no issues with this passport.

When leaving Ghana to travel to the UK, my ‘Uncle’ told me to hand the passport he gave me to a man in London as soon as I got to England, so it would be returned back to him as he said I was a British Citizen and did not need a Ghanaian passport. I did not know any better and did not know the system and thought this was normal. My ‘Uncle’ also gave me my birth Certificate showing that I was born in the UK.

I arrived in the UK in October 2002 at Heathrow Airport and soon after handed the passport to this man in London. That’s the last time I saw that passport.

Life in UK Once Arriving from GHANA

I continued my life in the UK and lived with my Aunt and she supported me and helped me get into college. I felt like I was once again close to my own family and the memories I had of my parents. It was like I returned home after all these years.

My British Birth Certificate enabled me to get a driver’s license and other identity documents including my national insurance number. I believed I was a British citizen and was entitled to all this by virtue of being born in the UK.

I went to College at Conel College of North East London in 2002, studied Construction but did not finish. I dropped out in 2004, moved out of my Aunt’s apartment because I wanted to be independent and started working part time at a retail supermarket in Enfield.

In 2006 I also worked in Marble Arch as a shop floor assistant and a stockroom assistant.

Shortly after been made redundant because the company was cutting down on staff, in 2008 I got a job at a shop in Chingford as a cashier. Later on in 2011 I was given a 1 bedroom flat in Enfield on housing benefit because I couldn’t support myself without a job for about a year until my personal case worker at the job centre helped me find a temporary job at a supermarket warehouse in Waltham Cross as Packer.

I voted and literally did everything a British citizen would be able to do. The only thing I did not think of claiming was my British passport, because I was young, naïve and never had any plans to travel at that time. I was glad to be back in the UK where I had fond childhood memories of my loving parents (which were my last memories of them). All my memories of them are based in the UK and coming back here felt as if I was closer to them.

EMPLOYMENT WITH NHS

Eventually, hard work in my studies and employment provided me with a great opportunity with the NHS (National Health Service) as a Social Therapist in 2014, at a medium security hospital for mental patients. I finally felt like my life was grounded and going somewhere as I had secured a career job and felt my parents of late would have been proud of me. However, little did I know that this would prove to be a massive nightmare the effects of which I am still facing today.

As a Social Therapist my role was to interact with patients with mental illness socially or on a 1 on 1 basis to help them recover and help change their way of life for the better. On one of the night shifts there was an incident on another ward at the centre and I was radioed and told to report to the ward to help de-escalate the situation. Unfortunately, things went out of proportion and there was a riot on the ward and I got assaulted and injured badly. This has affected my teeth and caused injury to my neck.

The NHS refused to compensate me when my injury lawyers approached them. And I was not even given any counselling.

I was told by my manager that they would refer me to a dentist to help fix my teeth back to how it was before and I would get physiotherapy for my neck pain. However, this never happened.

ISSUES WITH HOME OFFICE

I was sent a letter by the Home Office whom had classed me as an immigrant which got me so confused and shocked, because I was born in England and before you even work for the NHS you have to be screened by the Home Office and police.


I sought advice from the Home Office on the phone on what to do to resolve my issue. I was told to naturalize since I was born in the UK and also since I was not able to provide one of my parent’s passports.

I went ahead to pay and completed The Life in The UK test, passed and put my application in with my British Birth Certificate and paid £1,080 for the application fee.

But the application was refused on the basis that I was not entitled to work, which is not true because I have a national insurance number and have worked for many years and paid taxes. I became very frustrated, depressed and confused.


I asked for advice from an immigration
solicitor, who requested for my Home Office immigration history which stated on the first paragraph that I was born in the United Kingdom but also had history of me coming into the country in 2002 with a Ghanaian passport and also, they claim I acquired a student visa from Ghana in 2007. This is impossible because I have not left the UK since I returned in 2002. I told my solicitor about how my ‘Uncle’ helped me return to England in 2002 and that I didn’t know much about the passport but I was told to give it to a man when I arrived and that was the last time I saw that passport.

The solicitors advised me that I should leave the matter with them to resolve it because it looked like the Home Office had two identifications with the same name and date of birth but two different places of birth and it looked like they were confused giving the decision for my naturalisation. The solicitor believed that the Home Office had made a mistake.

In the meantime, I was requested by the Home Office to be reporting and signing on at their main office at London Bridge once every month, I signed on every month and never missed a date.

My solicitor made an application and added additional grounds for consideration for the Home Office. I did not agree with this because my solicitor should have concentrated on the naturalisation rather than making an application for additional grounds. The reasons for refusal of my naturalisation was wrong and incorrect and my solicitor should have addressed this. However, she said that the Home Office asked her to make an additional grounds application. I do not have this application.

DEPORTATION

On one of my signings at the Home Office, I was called into an interview room and was told I will be detained until further notice. I had no notice and this happened all so fast. I spent three weeks in a detention centre in Oxford and was granted bail by a Judge. My Aunt and Uncle had to travel from London to Wales to represent me as surety’s and they put a £1,500 bond for my release. I was given the condition of staying at my Aunt’s address and I was still required to report for signing at the Home Office in London Eaton House until my issue was resolved.

A few weeks later I went to the Home Office to sign on as I was told to but they went ahead and detained me again without any notice.


I immediately contacted my
solicitor but she said she couldn’t help me and also she was on holidays. So, I had no option but to raise up money again and look for another solicitor.

This time I was taken to Harmondsworth Detention Centre. I was there for a few weeks because trying to apply for bail there was like a myth. I had difficulties in trying to acquire a solicitor but eventually I applied for bail on my own and had a court hearing date. I even remember reading the news and finding out that “DEPORT FIRST AND APPEAL LATER “was ruled unlawful”.

On the night before my bail court hearing day, in the middle of the night I was forced out of my cell by 4 officers onto a military plane at an unknown military base and was told I was being deported to Ghana. It all happened too fast and I kept on asking how come I was not notified about this and I had not been shown any travelling documents. I also told the officer I was not well and I had been accessed by the doctor and been prescribed anti-depressants which was meant to be administered to me that same week but they ignored me. I kept telling them that my bail hearing was in the morning but they ignored me. I kept on asking the officers before they took me out the detention centre why my name was at the bottom of the list and only my name was written in pen and the other detainees which were on the list had their names printed and all those detainees were also notified and showed travelling documents before that date but I wasn’t? All of that was very suspicious to me and I did not know what was happening. This was unfair as I was not shown travelling documents and I had a bail hearing in the morning. No one listened to me.

On the plane I urged the escorts to help me, they listened and realised something was very wrong and that there must be a mistake because I had a copy of my birth certificate on me and also, I told them I even voted on the 8th of June the same day I was detained, they checked my birth certificate and saw it was genuine. They asked the Home Office personnel on the plane why and he said the reason is because I was born in England, 1984, and the Margaret Thatcher law affected me. The escorts found it absurd and said to the Home Office personnel if I haven’t committed a crime I should rather be helped in getting my British passport instead of being deported.

The Escorts said the only way they could help me was if the Ghanaian immigration on the ground refused me entry because I was not born in Ghana. But unfortunately the Ghanaian immigration did not want to help me at all because they had been given by the Home Office a travelling certificate with a copy of the Ghanaian passport with place of birth as Accra. This was false information and the Home Office knew this but intentionally used it to their advantage in getting rid of me because they know my place of birth is London not Accra. This is proven by my genuine birth certificate. Had they shown this to the Ghanaian authorities, they would have refused me entry. The Home Office seemed to be aware of this and relied on a passport that they knew had incorrect information. And because the physical passport was no where to be found they made a travelling certificate with the incorrect information they had.

LIFE IN GHANA

My life has been turned upside down and I am in misery. I do not know where the ‘Uncle’ that helped me years ago is, I don’t know if he’s alive or not because we lost contact 15 years ago. Even my Aunt does not know his whereabouts.

Sir/Madam I am pleading with you to help me, I don’t know anyone in Ghana, I have been squatting at a friend’s and I am finding it very difficult to live out here. I have been sleeping on the couch, it’s a small house with many people living here and its damaging my health. My immune system is not used to the poor conditions in Ghana. I fell very ill when I got here because I wasn’t given any malaria tablets.

I have been robbed at knife point and had my phone taken. I sometimes don’t have food to eat. I sometimes have to fetch water to have a bath or drink because there’s no constant running water. I am being taken advantage of because I speak in a British accent. I am always overpriced when trying to buy something. The people here see me as a foreigner.

I am very depressed, anxious, suicidal and have tried to kill myself before in the UK because of what’s been going on in my life. I miss my friends, family and loved ones who are all in the UK. I was once a happy, working, tax paying, sound individual with hopes and dreams, now I have nothing left, only with injuries and bad memories.

I hardly sleep at night, I feel so vulnerable and have been taken advantage of. I feel I am in a bad dream, a nightmare hoping and praying to wake up out of it. Also, this has put me in a position of not having a fair fight against the Home Office because of the difficulties in contacting my Solicitor. It costs a lot here to be on the phone and to use the internet. I feel my human rights have been breached. I feel like a badly treated alien in this country.

At all times I was endeavouring to live a legitimate life in the UK and build a lifelong career believing that I am a British Citizen and I had to just apply for my passport which I did not do as I was just so happy to be back in the UK closer to the memories of my parents.

Please Sir/Madam have mercy and help me please. Thank you and God bless you.”

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If they take me back to Ghana I will kill myself.

I came to this country in 1999, to be with my brother and my sister. I have a wife here. I have been in this country for almost 18 years.In 2012 I applied as an over-stayer. The Home Office didn’t respond. Nothing. I waited. I checked with my solicitor and they still have no response from the Home Office. I reported my situation to my MP in Peckham, London, they wrote the Home Office for me. They said they had spoken to the Home Office, but still I heard nothing back from them. I waited another 2 months and went again to my MP. Again they wrote to them. Still I heard nothing, In 2015, 3 years later, the Home Office wrote to me saying I had been refused. Why? I have been here long time, I have family here.

After I was refused the home Office told me to report at the immigration centre every 2 weeks. I did this. One day I didn’t go to report, because my sister had passed away in Birmingham. I wrote to them to tell them I would miss one week. The Home Office was not OK with this. They called me and told me to go to the immigration centre in Croydon. I went to Croydon and they interviewed me for a long time. After the interview they gave me a ticket to go back to Ghana for THAT night, at 10pm. I went with them to the airport, though I had no money and non of my things with me. The officer offered my £20 to return to Ghana with- are they insulting me?! I cannot return to a place I haven’t been for 15 years with £20. My ticket for the flight was cancelled. But I was not released, instead they took my to the detention centre.

The way they are treating us is in the detention centre is very, very bad. The toilets haven’t been cleaned for over a week- they are disgusting. The food is very bad. They know the food is not good. Last night they just gave me bread and rice, no sauce, nothing. When you go to the healthcare here- you have to queue for over 1 hour, just for painkillers.

On Wednesday they give me another ticket to Ghana. Now they have given me a ticket for the charter flight next week.

What do the they expect me to do? They are trying to deport me when I don’t have one penny in my pocket. How can I leave me wife in this country? How can I leave my brother and his children in this country? My family and my life is here in the UK. If they take me back to Ghana I will kill myself.

I have been in this country for almost 18 years. I have applied for asylum because I am not safe to go back there. The Home Office know this, I have given them all of my evidence. I have no criminal record, no contact with the police. Just the Home Office making problems. The Home Office don’t respect me. They don’t listen to me. They don’t listen to my wife. It is not OK to treat people like this.

The Home Office don’t follow the laws of this country. We all follow the law, but they don’t. It is not fair.

The Home Office say I cannot stay here with my parents anymore.

Both of my parents are in the UK, they are British. I have been here, with them, for over 5 years. But the Home Office wants to send me back to Nigeria. The Home Office says I am over age, I am now 21 years old. The Home Office say I cannot stay here with my parents anymore. My brothers are here. I am in fear to go back to Nigeria, there is fighting over land. They killed my brother. They killed my grandfather. I came to England for protection, I seek asylum here. I believe the UK could help me

I give the Home Office all of my evidence. The Home Office know about everything. But, they want to deport me back to place where I don’t have anybody. Another charter flight is coming- they want to put me on it. I am scared. I won’t be able to survive. I don’t have any family there. I have no body there. Is this fair?

Many people are deported to Nigeria, then they have committed suicide. They have died after being deported. They have to become criminal because they have nothing there. It is ruining peoples lives. They have nothing there, they have no-where to live.

This is injustice. The UK government must stop this.

I have been detained for over 8 months. In detention you see disabled people. I have notes from the doctor because I am pissing blood, but here is no medical attention in the detention centre. People are dying here. I don’t understand I did not think UK is like this.

Nobody hear our cry. We are crying. Please we need to be rescued. Please can anybody helps us?

On Christmas Eve they tried to send me back to Baghdad. When they tried to send me back, they put me on the plane, they twisted my arms, put handcuffs into my wrists, nearly breaking it. They said this is our job.

I have been in the uk since 2002. I came from Iraq, I was injured and I was beaten nearly to death.  In 2001 I went to Germany, but I was refused asylum. I came to the UK because I was worried Germany would send me back to Iraq. In 2006 I met my now ex-girlfriend. We were together until 2013. She had said to apply for a visa with her, so I applied in 2009. I got a visa in 2013. But sadly, we are no longer together. Immigration said to me, because I applied for visa through her but we break up I have to back to Iraq. I am not coming here for visa, I am not coming for this reasons, I came here for my life. I apply for asylum but because I am not wth her they give me refuse. I applied again, I got refused agin.

In 2015, ISIS start killing people for no reason. I had a friend who said ‘why not come to church?’ I changed my religion, I became christian. People are not happy with me because of this, they speak bad about me. After that, the Church baptise me, we did that, then they put my picture on facebook. Then everyone knows I am Christian, everyone knows my situation. Most people don’t want to talk with me anymore, they say to me I shame myself by changing my religion.

2016, immigration come to my house and arrest me, because I have family life visa, which has run out. But its not about that I came here to apply for asylum. They said “we don’t believe you”, they said they don’t believe I change my religion. I said “how do you know what is in my heart?”. They said I don’t have enough evidence. what evidence? My religion is in my heart, how do they know?

Last year, on Christmas Eve they tried to send me back to Baghdad. When they tried to send me back, they put me on the plane with, they twisted my arms, put handcuffs into my wrists, nearly breaking it. They said this is our job. I am human why you do this- they said we have an order.

In Baghdad there is sectarian violence, between tribes and religions. They say it is safe for Christians but its not safe, there used to be 1 1/2 million Christian, now there is less than 500,000- where have they gone? They have been displaced, they have been be-headed. Immigration said there is Christian community in Baghdad but I was born into muslim, not into christian religion- this is different. This is different. In Sharia law you cannot change religion. Now immigration say Baghdad is safe.

I was detained early November. Now I am detained about 70 days. First time I apply for bail, they give me a ticket, therefore I can’t get bail. The judge doesn’t listen to my situation. Again I applied for bail and they give me another ticket. This is not on, what they do to people in here. Some people have been here 5,6,9 months. If my country was safe I would never be here. I love my country but they have been destroying it, the UK and America have been destroying it. We suffer like Syria.

I have never been to prison, I have never committed any crime, I have never committed any offences. I understand if I do something wrong, but I didn’t do anything wrong. I just find out my brother has been kidnapped in Iraq, he is journalist working for TV. I don’t know who has kidnapped him. I just want to get out and find out what has happened to him. It is very hard. I never been to prison but I am here now.

Yesterday I wanted to do suicide but they didn’t let me.

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.