[Sinn Fein]

28th Lúnasa 2001

Nigerian deportation deal - `Disgraceful'

Sinn Fein Dublin Councillor Nicky Kehoe has described the proposed `deportation pact' between the Department of Justice and the Nigerian government as a disgrace. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law reform, John O'Donoghue, will travel to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to sign the re-admission agreement tomorrow.

The Department of Justice has claimed that the agreement simply provides for the strenghtening of co-operation between both states in the area of technical assistance on immigration matters. However, Councillor Kehoe believes that this is a cover for what is a financial pact to assist the deportation of Nigerian Asylum seekers.

Councillor Kehoe said:

``This deal is all the more sickening because John O'Donoghue's stop-off in Nigeria will take place as he travels on his way to the United Nations world conference against racism, which opens in Durban, South Africa, next Friday.

``This is a racist pact, designed to allow John O'Donoghue to deport Nigerians as swiftly as possible. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a pay-off to the Nigerian government for their co-operation in re-admitting asylum seekers deported from Ireland.

``I have no doubt that John O'Donoghue will not tell the assembled delegates, to the UN conference on racism in South Africa celebrating the end of Apartheid, that asylum seekers, most of them black, are denied the right to work, that they are accommodated in often sub standard accommodation with 15 each for `comfort' money.

``Instead of continuing with his hypocritical stance John O'Donoghue should use his trip to South Africa to commit this government to pursuing equal rights for all those living on this island.'' ENDS

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