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Gay man deported from UK to Nigeria despite numerous death threats

A man who has been deported to Nigeria from the UK has told the BBC he fears for his life because he is gay.

“My life is at risk for being gay,” Adeniyi Raji, who landed in Lagos with other deportees on Thursday morning, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

Nigeria criminalises same-sex relationships – and he says that is why he left the country in 2017.

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People can be deported from the UK if they are not a British citizen and have been convicted of a criminal offence.

But Mr Raji says he has never been in trouble with the police in the UK – and that he was deported because the British authorities did not believe that he was gay.

“I have not been to prison before, I have not been convicted before.

“The only offence I’ve committed is that I’m a gay man,” he said.

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“They deported me because they said I don’t need humanitarian protection in their country because they don’t believe I am gay.”

The 46-year-old said he decided to seek asylum in the UK after losing his job in Nigeria because of his sexuality.

“I was working as a health officer they sacked me “after witnessing I was a practising gay man”, he explained.

He had then been threatened by the police and left Facebook because he faced so much abuse about his sexuality, he added.

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A man who had been in a relationship with him for two years had offered a statement to the UK authorities, but it was ignored, Mr Raji said.

“More than 45 MPs were fighting for my case, but the Home Office wouldn’t listen – why is it that they don’t want to listen, is it because I’m a black man?

“When the flight took off from the runway I wept because the UK has already let me down – and they let the LGBTQ [community] down completely.”

However, Mr Raji will continue efforts to return to the UK as he does not feel safe anywhere on the African continent as a gay man, he said.

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