SAVE OOR JOHN

Issued: Mon, 01 Aug 2011 09:33:00 BST

A campaign on behalf of Junior Honours student John Oguchukwu, who fled to the United Kingdom from Nigeria in 2002 because of religious and ethnic persecution which led to the murder of his father, mother and sister, and his own torture and abuse, is continuing in spite of his deportation on July 20. A series of high level protests, including letters sent to the Home Secretary from senior University officials including the Principal Professor Anton Muscatelli has been followed by articles in the press and a further series of letters to the Immigration Minister asking for John’s case to be reviewed and that he be allowed to come back to Glasgow.In the meantime, collections are being taken to raise money for John, who is now alone and with no means of support in Nigeria. You can contribute by contacting his student advisor, Fred Cartmel; fred.cartmel@glasgow.ac.uk

The “Save Oor John Campaign” reflects the tremendous affection felt on campus, and around Glasgow, for John Oguchukwu. As The Principal and senior colleagues stated in their letter to the Home Secretary, “John has completed (successfully) his Junior Honours year, achieving grades that set him on course for a Upper Second Class Honours degree.  He has been an active member of the campus, involved with the Students Representative Council and very popular with his peers and teachers.  Most recently, he was shortlisted by the Principal's Office for a bursary from the Thomas and Margaret Roddan Trust, which provides financial assistance to students who are deserving cases.  John's record is even more impressive when one considers the adversity he has faced.  John was funded last year at the University by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow. 

John has been seeking asylum in the UK for over nine years, and during this time has been entitled to Section 4 food vouchers and housing but little else.  He has been subject to compulsory weekly sign-in sessions at the Home Office, and has on at least one occasion been unlawfully detained by the UKBA.  This occurred over Christmas 2009, when John was held in a detention centre in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport for over ten weeks, before finally being released to his solicitor.  John then had a lengthy struggle with UKBA to regain the keys to the flat that he had left behind when detained.  In addition to this, his goods were seized, some of which are still to be returned.

As well as contributing to student life, John Oguchukwu was an Extraordinary Minister at St. Michael’s Church in the East End of Glasgow where he assisted greatly in voluntary work. He also established deep and long term relationships with his Scottish friends - none more so than with Elizabeth Jenkins from Greenock, who calls herself John’s “Scottish mum.”  

Glasgow University is doing all that it can to help John Oguchukwu, including exploring whether he might be able to complete his degree in Nigeria. But any support, financial or moral, would be welcome for this most extraordinary student and remarkable young man.

 


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