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When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu - Travel - Nairaland

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When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by 4 Play(m): 11:53am On Jan 19, 2013
In 1999, 48-year-old Roseline Akhalu’s husband, a nurse, was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The pair lived a simple life in a shared flat in Benin. Rose worked in local government and earned N22,000 - at the time about £80 - a year. The doctors told Rose’s husband that he’d need to raise £8,000 (N2,000,000) and go to South Africa or India for treatment. There was no way they could do it. Rose stood by as he lost his sight, then his ability to walk, and then to talk. She watched him die, and it broke her heart.

In Nigeria men used their children’s names as next-of-kin and since they did not have any children (prior to this, Rose had suffered a miscarriage) her husband used his brother’s name. His family took all of his possessions, including his pass book and cheque book. She wanted to challenge them, but was dissuaded by her mother, a traditionalist who told her she should be thankful to God that she was still young and had her life ahead of her. Rose was alone in the world. She set about putting her life back together.

Five years later, she was one of just 23 people to win a Ford Foundation scholarship to study in England. She took a masters degree in Development Studies at Leeds University. Inspired by her experiences, she wanted to establish an NGO to cater for the education of young girls. Back in Nigeria, she'd been helping young girls in her community and trying to give them awareness of their rights to encourage them to return to school, even as teenage mums. Whenever she went back to her village to see her family she would organise meetings under a tree near her house.

Rose began to attend St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Leeds. It’s a little parish about three miles from the centre of town. It’s a poor area, but the church has a buzzing middle-aged community; a mix of immigrants and people who’ve lived there all their lives.

Claire McLaughlin, a fellow parishioner, became her friend: she and Rose attended coffee mornings after mass. “She’s quite a private person,” she says, “But she’s really interested in other people.” The two women began working on community initiatives for young girls. “She’s brave, too,” says Claire. “She works with asylum seekers, and goes out doing street pastoring work in Harehills - she’s never evangelical with the people on the street: she just wants to help them.”

I ask Rose for a few more details on what she does in the church. “I’m a member of the choir and I lead the Bible study group. On Mondays I serve the older people tea, coffee and cake. After food we clean up and play Dominos and Bingo for biscuits. It’s like a day centre for women. They love it and the volunteers love it too. I’ve made so many friends in the church: I spent Christmas and Boxing Day with Paul and Dot...”

That’s the new life she built for herself. Christian, innocent and - though how bitter it feels to use this word in the light of what’s to come - somehow rather English.

One day, Rose went to a routine vaccination appointment and was told her blood pressure was too high. She was sent to a nephrologist at Leeds General Infirmary who ran tests and diagnosed renal failure. She planned to return to Nigeria, but was told the only way she could survive was by going on dialysis, or having a kidney implant. In May 2005, she was put on dialysis three times a week.

In 2009, she had a successful kidney implant. The next year, her consultant, Dr R J Baker, wrote to her former MP, Fabian Hamilton, explaining how the treatment had complicated her residential situation. She would need regular hospital check-ups and immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of her life.

Her plan had been to return to Nigeria. Now, however, it changed. Rose was no "health tourist". But it was her misfortune the medication to protect from rejection of the kidney would cost £10,000 per year in Nigeria - a sum Rose would never be able to earn given the wage differential (85 per cent of the population live on less than $1 a day), high unemployment and fact she is of retirement age in that country. She had no support network there, besides three siblings, all of whom lived in poverty. Moreover, as medical experts - Nigerian and British - have testified, the sanitary and medical facilities she required could not be provided. If deported, she would die within two to four weeks. She began to fight for the right to remain in the UK.

In March 2012, Rose arrived at the UK Border Agency (UKBA) Reporting Office for her monthly reporting when she was told she was being detained. Staff from Reliance – a firm contracted by UKBA – told her she was being transported from Leeds to Yarl’s Wood detention centre (an institution familiar to regular readers of this blog).

Close to Manchester, Rose asked to use the toilet. The female security officer told her she would be taken to a police station where it would be “safe” for her to go. On arrival at Manchester, after another 30 minutes of asking for the toilet she was taken to the Reliance Office for a duty change-over. Her pleas were ignored. She could see a toilet in the office through the van's window. She couldn’t bear to hold it in any longer, and stood up in the van. The officers started to look for a plastic bag into which she could urinate. They couldn’t find the bag for women, so she was given the one for men. The design didn’t work, but Rose couldn’t hold it in any more. She urinated all over her hands and the rest of the van, in full view of the CCTV camera.

She tells me: “I felt humiliated and degraded. I was treated like a common criminal. As if I had no dignity, no rights and no voice.” She was left covered in her urine, as was the van. She claims that as a result she suffered a urinary tract infection: she had to sit in her wet clothes until she arrived at Yarl’s Wood at 10.30pm. There is a civil case pending as a result of this incident. Negotiations are ongoing, but at the time of writing Reliance have refused the disclosure of records and documents required for a claim to be quantified.

The Home Office was attempting to remove Rose from the country. UKBA had decided that she was indeed a health tourist, even though she applied for her scholarship back in 2002 and her renal specialist had testified that her illness three years later was sudden and impossible to predict.

Rose would spend 26 days at Yarl’s Wood. Having been returned home, in May, Rose was then taken back to Yarl’s Wood. The second time round she was not given access to medication for 24 hours. She was then moved to Colinbrooke Detention Centre in London. There was not enough room for Rose in the women’s space, so she was taken to the male secure cell. The room was, she tells me, “Stuffed with cigarette smoke and rubbish. The officer left another woman and I there, so we started banging on the door, asking for him to let the cigarette smoke out of the room. The officer’s boss came and threatened us, telling us we’d be moved somewhere worse. Eventually a cleaner was sent.” Rose spent 16 days on this second detention.

http://www.newstatesman.com/alan-white/2013/01/trials-roseline-akhalu

Absolutely heartbreaking story which illustrates how desperate Nigeria is that a person with renal failure living in Nigeria is on an express train to death...unless of course they've enough money to afford treatment.

1 Like

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Vicjustice: 1:39pm On Jan 19, 2013
She will definitely die if returned to Nigeria, she needs a miracle to stay alive.
I pray she gets asylum on health ground. Sad

1 Like

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by keystone123(m): 8:38pm On Jan 20, 2013
4 Play:


http://www.newstatesman.com/alan-white/2013/01/trials-roseline-akhalu

Absolutely heartbreaking story which illustrates how desperate Nigeria is that a person with renal failure living in Nigeria is on an express train to death...unless of course they've enough money to afford treatment.
May God help her soul.
 
 
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by uromi.com(): 12:47am On Jan 21, 2013
na wah for rose
 
 
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by amivel(f): 12:57am On Jan 21, 2013
♏αy God grant her favor
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by onitshaigbo(m): 1:02am On Jan 21, 2013
Absolutely heartbreaking, I hope that she is granted asylum or residency in the UK. But in the case that she does not, I accept it too, since it is not the responsibility of the UK taxpayers to pick up the cost of healing a foreigner. This is once again another example of how our government entire country has failed in providing security and dignity to us Nigerians, that we are humiliated and placed in the mercy of foreign governments. When will this sense of shame and frustration translate into real action? I look around Nigeria, most of the country isn't even going in the right direction, except for Lagos State, which under the leadership of Fashola, is one of the few bright spots in this nation of disappointment.

5 Likes

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by dabrake(m): 1:07am On Jan 21, 2013
@justwise, @this guy, thanks for hiding the spam bargar's post.
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Tonbrazeal(m): 1:13am On Jan 21, 2013
Hmn
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by pDude(m): 1:15am On Jan 21, 2013
My children will never have the opportunity to ask me, "Daddy, when everybody was hustling and relocating abroad, where were you?" by the grace of God.

Nigeria is a sad and hopeless place.

3 Likes

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by homebase(m): 1:21am On Jan 21, 2013
Social welfare for all please

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Nobody: 1:22am On Jan 21, 2013
Decapo: who is this f00l?

edited DG
[b[color=#000099]]He is an .takening advantage of the thread because its late in the night Nigerian time.Trust me this slowpoke could'nt have done this if it was to be day time
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Nobody: 1:30am On Jan 21, 2013
pDude: My children will never have the opportunity to ask me, "Daddy, when everybody was hustling and relocating abroad, where were you?" by the grace of God.

Nigeria is a sad and hopeless place.
Your comment funny D.I.E.There is though atom of truth in your comment sha but there is still little hope though lets just trust in God
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Jbenue: 1:49am On Jan 21, 2013
n
 
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by obo_man(m): 1:52am On Jan 21, 2013
Really sad story........... It shows how valuable a good health is....... nairalanders that think they have a problem ( always complaining about their bfs, gfs, exes, money etc) You don't have a problem until you lose your health...


If Rose is deported, she will definitely die in that Country, where nothing is ever taken seriously, except stealing.....


There two ways we could look at this case......... If Rose stays in UK, it would be at the expense of UK taxpayers, like someone rightly pointed out..... Some people would also argue that it might send wrong information to 'would be' tourist to come seek free medical treatment in UK. They might also argue that it isn't United Kingdom's fault that your governments can't get their acts together, and improve medical infrastructure in Nigeria


If she gets deported, she dies.... From a mankind's point of view, I did like her to stay, and be granted asylum on health ground.


UK has also immensely benefited from Nigeria .... ( imagine all the non-refundable visa fees, whereby visas weren't issued to applicants), profitable oil deals, British Airways making billions from Nigeria, therby paying tax to the British Government, etc...

So UK providing free medical aid for Rose isn't much of a burden to taxpayers, if you look at other avenues UK makes money off Nigeria....


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all sick Nigerians should fly over to UK for medical treatment, I'm just saying that every case should be treated based on its peculiarity, and in Rose's case, her staying in UK is the better option, rather than letting her die...

There is absolutely no justification for her to be left to die, provided there is a concrete evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt that if she is deported, she will die).

3 Likes

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Techwriter: 1:56am On Jan 21, 2013
If I say what I want to say some ignorant Nairalanders will start attacking themselves but I will say it. This woman's problem is more spiritual than physical. She may be religious yes! The devil is not afraid of religion ofcourse he can even sponsor it if it causes more distraction. Let her seek God and get on fire and you will see sicknesses dis*ppear,freedom granted, husband etc
The devil came and stole her peace, killed her husband and destroy her joy

2 Likes

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Nobody: 2:53am On Jan 21, 2013
sad
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by holly-pagan: 2:56am On Jan 21, 2013
thats why we should join hands to make our country good,for me i still believe that no place like home

2 Likes

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Feed me more(f): 3:11am On Jan 21, 2013
Wow!
What a heart- touching story. I pray God re-write her story, cuz there is nothing God can't do.

1 Like

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Epiphany(m): 3:14am On Jan 21, 2013
I was heartbroken just reading this. Sad story that can happen to anybody. This is why i sometimes understand people when they fight with all they have in them, to acquire foreign citizenship for themselves or their kids.
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by ekt_bear(m): 3:49am On Jan 21, 2013
pDude: My children will never have the opportunity to ask me, "Daddy, when everybody was hustling and relocating abroad, where were you?" by the grace of God.

Nigeria is a sad and hopeless place.

Depressing statement. But true.
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Nobody: 4:01am On Jan 21, 2013
pDude: My children will never have the opportunity to ask me, "Daddy, when everybody was hustling and relocating abroad, where were you?" by the grace of God.

Nigeria is a sad and hopeless place.

Amen
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by KingPradas(m): 4:07am On Jan 21, 2013
There is no place like home.
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by pDude(m): 4:28am On Jan 21, 2013
KingPradas: There is no place like home.

Yes I agree. But what if home has become a nightmare?

Would we continue to live in a nightmare, and never wake up from it?
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by birdman(m): 4:30am On Jan 21, 2013
pDude: My children will never have the opportunity to ask me, "Daddy, when everybody was hustling and relocating abroad, where were you?" by the grace of God.

Nigeria is a sad and hopeless place.

I pity anyone who thinks about Nigeria like this. Opportunity shows itself best in chaos. Yes, I know people who have died of ailments that could have been detected if they were abroad. But I also know many more that actually hustled through the system, have decent jobs, at least one house and a couple of cars all bought and paid for. Some even have enough dough left over to send kids to school abroad.

Sorry for derailing the thread. Isnt there a way ppl can contribute money for these type of operations?

1 Like

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Nobody: 4:49am On Jan 21, 2013
^^^Youve said nothing, tbh.

You know 1/100,000,000 of the population and you already think lots of Nigerians escaped through the crack?
Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by pDude(m): 4:50am On Jan 21, 2013
birdman:

I pity anyone who thinks about Nigeria like this. Opportunity shows itself best in chaos. Yes, I know people who have died of ailments that could have been detected if they were abroad. But I also know many more that actually hustled through the system, have decent jobs, at least one house and a couple of cars all bought and paid for. Some even have enough dough left over to send kids to school abroad.

Sorry for derailing the thread. Isnt there a way ppl can contribute money for these type of operations?

Keep smoking that weed bruv. undecided

Are you aware that on paper the unemployment rate in Nigeria is about 40%. And we know that the statistics on paper is always less than the reality on ground.

Yes you are right, opportunity shows itself best in chaos. Opportunuity is been taken by the bad leaders. While you guys are busy squabbling over religion, ethnicity, tribe and other scrappy trivialities, your leaders are carting truckloads of your resources into private accounts. Yes! That is opportunity.

Otedollar can tell you more about utilizing these opportunities amidst chaos grin

1 Like

Re: When Going Back To Nigeria Is A Death Sentence: The Story Of Rose Akhalu by Lexusgs430: 5:01am On Jan 21, 2013
Seems like its the same renal failure condition, Governor Sullivan Chime is facing at the moment, hence his absence from office.
Dialysis cannot be managed in Nigeria, due to the high level of on-going care and costing involved. All fingers should point to our leaders of present and past, for not adequately investing in the health sector of our Nation. They all seem to prefer travelling to Europe for all emergency or non- essential medical needs. (health is wealth)
Due to the present financial meltdown in the United Kingdom, the UKBA are working overtime to remove anything or anyone, that would save them cost !!!
I hope the best decisions are reached in Rose's case.

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