Monday, October 22, 2012

Rally at U of R in Protest of Deportation of Two Former [Nigerian] Students


BY DAVID FRASER/THE LEADER POST

Victoria Sharon Ordu, left, and Ihuoma Favour Amad, two former University of Regina students who face deportation back to Nigeria after mistakenly taking jobs at a local Wal-Mart, something their status as international students does not permit. File Photo: Troy Fleece/Leader Post

REGINA — Support for two former University of Regina students facing deportation appears to be growing.

On Monday, close to 100 students and faculty gathered at the University of Regina to support two students, Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi, who are facing deportation. The two Nigerian exchange students worked two weeks at Walmart earlier this year. Under the parameters of their visas, they weren’t permitted to do so. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) discovered the mistake and ordered both to be deported. Ordu and Amadi sought shelter in a Regina church and have stayed there since June.

This was the second protest supporting Ordu and Amadi this month. Brennan Dyck, a film student at the U of R, was in attendance at Monday’s rally. He thinks deportation is too harsh a punishment.

“That’s not worthy. It’s not like they’re drug dealers or gang (members),” he said.

Ordu and Amadi were removed from university classes, which they had been taking online, said vice-president of external relations for the U of R Barbara Pollock.

“The students’ visas were not viable once they were given deportation orders,” she said, adding the university has requested the deportation penalty be reconsidered.

That request has been made at least 1,050 times to Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney and Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews: that’s how many signatures a petition supporting the two students has so far.

There has been little response from either minister. Kenney defers the matter to Toews. An emailed statement from Toews’ office indicates the CBSA is not willing to budge on the issue.

“A key part of the CBSA mandate is to remove those who violate Canada’s immigration laws as soon as possible,” the statement read. “Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law. This case is no different. Thousands of students come to Canada each year to study. The student visa system can only function if those students who receive visas respect and adhere to the conditions of their visa, such as remaining in school and only working as permitted by their visa.”

Officials from the CBSA wouldn’t comment on whether or not they’ll storm the church Ordu and Amadi are hiding in, but did say the CBSA “does not condone seeking refuge inside a church.”

According to Kay Adebogun, an immigration consultant assisting the two women, the church is where they will stay.

“They are willing to stay if it takes a whole year to resolve their case,” he said.

Adebogun said Ordu and Amadi are grateful for the support received so far and hopes they will be allowed to finish their education, adding they will be reduced to poverty in Nigeria if sent home without degrees.

“They don’t want to wait forever, but that’s part of the struggle,” he said.

Next Monday a rally supporting Ordu and Amadi will be held in Ottawa.

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