Offaly student ‘overwhelmed’ after deportation order revoked

‘When I heard it at 1 o’clock in the morning, my mom woke me up just to tell me’

Nonso Muojeke. Photograph: Uplift.ie

Nonso Muojeke. Photograph: Uplift.ie

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Tullamore student Nonso Muojeke, who this week heard the news that he and his family will not be deported, has spoken of his relief that the appeal process was successful.

The Co Offaly teenager was facing deportation to Nigeria despite having lived in Ireland since he was two years old.

The Department of Justice confirmed on Wednesday that the deportation order against the 14-year-old and his family had been revoked and that he had been given permission to remain in the State.

On Friday, Nonso said he had been “happy and overwhelmed” when he heard the news.

“I didn’t really expect it to come so soon, I would have expected another year or two. When I heard it at 1 o’clock in the morning, my mom woke me up just to tell me, she was so happy, she kept on talking about it, she was texting Joe and Ann and all the people who supported us,” he said.

“I was mostly thinking about what’s going to happen now, what’s going to happen in my future? We’ve been reading the documents, how we have to go through everything to finally solidify the residency process,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Nonso and his family moved to Tullamore, Co Offaly, in 2007 after fleeing Nigeria.

Earlier this year, a petition signed by over 20,000 people was sent to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, urging him to grant clemency.

Nonso said he had been “really worried”, mostly about his mother, but now he feels “super happy that [his] family don’t have to worry about this any more.”

The young basketball fan is hoping “to study really well” and to continue his training, “because [he] was hoping to go study in America. Probably join a basketball association there and hopefully get drafted, who knows?”

The artist Joe Caslin, who is a teacher at Tullamore College, where Nonso is a student, said that the campaign had provided “incredible lessons for students, staff and the whole community”.

He said: “We wanted to keep this boy and his family in the community, he had been part of the school community for 7 years, we felt that an incredible injustice was taking place and we were united, we stood behind this simple cause.

“It was one the greatest lessons that our students learned last year and this year, that they can make an impact, that a simple thing, if you follow it through that you have a voice, that’s a life lesson for our kids.”

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