FG calls on Ahern to allow Nigerian mother to stay


FINE GAEL yesterday called on Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to exercise discretionary powers to allow a Nigerian mother to remain in Ireland on humanitarian grounds, saying it was right and appropriate and in the spirit of this time of year.

Pamela Izevbekhai came to Ireland in early 2005 and has sought leave to remain on the grounds that her two daughters will be forced to undergo genital mutilation if the family is returned to Nigeria.

She has already lost one daughter, Elizabeth, who died in 1994 as a result of the procedure, which Fine Gael yesterday described as barbaric.

Ms Izevbekhai has exhausted all domestic avenues of appeal against the decision of the State to refuse her refugee status. She says her two daughters, Naomi (7) and Jemima (6), will be forced by her husband’s relations to undergo the procedure, if the State goes ahead with the deportation process.

In response to her circumstances, Fine Gael yesterday invited Ms Izevbekhai to Leinster House where it convened an all-party meeting to allow TDs and Senators hear her story. The family has been living in Sligo where the children attend a local primary school.

The meeting was arranged by the party’s spokesman on children Alan Shatter and its spokesman on immigration Denis Naughten. The Sligo TD John Perry was also involved.

Speaking outside Leinster House, Mr Shatter said that her case was an exceptional one given that she has already lost a daughter because of genital mutilation.

He said at this time of year the Minister for Justice should consider applying basic humanitarian principles to her request to stay, rather than depending on the legal technicalities or on the outcome of an application made to the European Court in Strasbourg. “There is a basic humanitarian story. In the context of her special circumstances, she has a special case. I think that deserves recognition,” he said.