Just a day after activists prevented a plane carrying dozens of Ghanaian and Nigerian would-be expellees from taking off at London’s Stansted Airport, 23 Nigerians were deported from the United Kingdom on Friday.
The all male deportees, who were sent back to their home country for various immigration offences, arrived at the Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport at about 6 am in a chartered aircraft, according to news reports.
The deportees were received by officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and the Police.
Also on ground to receive them were officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
The deportees were profiled by immigration authorities before they were allowed to leave for their respective destinations.
The British government had on 1 February deported 41 Nigerians from the country for similar reasons.
Meanwhile, migrant support groups have accused the UK Home Office of employing coercion in its drive for “illegal” migrants and those refused asylum to return home voluntarily – a tactic publicised as more cost-effective and “humane” than forced returns.
Since the UK is the only EU country with no time limit on immigration detention, migrants could be held for many months. Detained persons often opt to be deported as they do not know how long they would be held, a situation that activists claim could not be described as voluntary return.
Since the UK voted to exit the EU, the country has renewed its efforts to deport rejected asylum-seekers and those who have no legal right to be in the country.