He said the figures were inflated and inaccurate of the United Kingdom’s policy concerning deportations of Nigerians when they had been illegally present in the UK.
“This week some media reported that 500 Nigerians had been deported from the UK, arriving on one flight to Lagos. Nigeria’s immigration service confirmed to the media that number was incorrect,” said Arkwright.
He said the actual number was 48, all of whom were people who had broken UK law by remaining in the country when they had “no right to be there.”
These, he said, had been given full right of appeal, and exhausted that legal process.
“Unfortunately, I fear this will not be the last example of misreporting and I would ask all Nigerians to look with a critical eye when such statistics are presented as facts.”
He said the links between the UK and Nigeria were “deep and far reaching” and rooted both in their shared past and partnership for the future.
According to him, today up to 250 000 Nigerians are living legally in the UK, making a significant contribution and adding to the rich fabric of our society.
Every year around 130,000 Nigerians visit the UK from Nigeria for both business and leisure. Nigerians who come to the United Kingdom in accordance with our well publicised rules will always be welcome guests.
“The UK cannot ignore those who choose not to play by the rules. Like Nigeria, the United Kingdom operates a robust but fair immigration system,” said Arkwright.
He insisted the law in the UK was “very clear.”
“Thhose who are in the UK illegally and have made the choice not to leave voluntarily will be required to leave. Decisions to remove people are not made lightly and we adhere to international obligations – particularly the European Convention on Human Rights – and our own clear domestic law.”
In 2014-15 global demand for UK visas from Nigerian nationals was 168 000. Of these, 73 percent of visit applications were successful, a rise of 5 percent from the previous year.
– CAJ News