A Nigerian, Mrs. Olalere Comfort Kehinde, whose octogenarian husband, Mr.Olalere Joseph Olaleke is currently being treated for cancer in the United States, has challenged her deportation from that country.
Mrs. Olalere, in a petition dated, April 3 by her lawyer, Babs Akinwumi, faulted her deportation on March 17 this year, describing it as “unlawful, degrading and inhuman.”
She stated, in the petition received at the US embassy in Abuja on April 5, that she travelled on March 15 to care for her husband “who is undergoing cancer medical therapy in the US,’ but was subjected to “harrowing and unimaginable treatment” on arriving the Los Angeles International Airport on March 17.
Mrs. Olalere said she was detained for five hours at the airport on the allegation that she had overstayed the six month allocated her when she last visited.
She said officials of the US Customs and Border Protection, who detained her, ignored her explanation that she did not overstay during her previous visit, but only spent five out of the six months allocated her in the US.
“One of the agents (of the Customs and Border Protection), who has been abusing her with racial slurs, later told her sternly, that she has an option to choose between spending five years in jail in the US or being deported for no criminality at all.
“She was ultimately deported illegally to Nigeria. Her two-year valid visa, (Class B1/B2) No: K8005263, issued in Abuja on 4th September 2015 to expire on 2nd September 2017, was cancelled,” he lawyer said in the petition.
Mrs. Olalere, who faulted the US officials’ claim that she overstayed during her previous visit, said she last visited the US on November 29, 2015 and that, although she was given six months, she returned to Nigeria on 26th April 2016. She exhibited copies of the stamped page of her passports as evidence.
She wants the US Government to investigate the “unfortunate treatment” accorded her and endure that the culprits are penalised to prevent further harassment of other visitors.
Mrs. Olalere also wants a fresh visa issued to her to enable her visit her ailing husband, who is a legal resident of the USA: the payment of travel expenses by the US Government, who must offer an apology to be published in both print and online media.
She said she will explore other appropriate diplomatic channels to register her displeasure and seek redress should the US authorities fail to address her complaints within 14 days.
Copies of the petition have been sent to the US Secretary of State, Department of States; Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Country Representatives, United Nations Human Rights Council, the National Human Rights Commission (Nigeria) and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Disapora Matters.