Nigerian student due back before weekend

 

A new visa has been issued to deported Nigerian student, Olukunle Elukanlo, who is now expected to return to Ireland by next Monday, in time for the new school term. Liam Reid and Conor Lally report.

Yesterday evening a senior official from the Irish Embassy in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, was in contact by telephone with the 20-year-old student who is currently in Lagos.

According to a spokeswoman for the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, the student was told that a visa had now been issued and was waiting for him at the embassy.

He was also provided with contact details for embassy staff to make arrangements to collect the visa.

Officials were also finalising travel arrangements for Mr Elukanlo to return to Ireland, with flights to be paid for by the State.

The spokeswoman said it was hoped that the student would be back in Ireland within seven days and in time for the new term at Palmerstown Community College, which resumes classes next Monday.

Details of the arrangements for the Leaving Certificate student come after weekend newspapers reported that he had yet to be told officially he was being allowed to return to Ireland.

"I want to return to Ireland as soon as I can, but I still haven't heard anything from the embassy," he is reported to have said. "All I can do is sit and wait. I hope to be home in Dublin by next weekend."

Mr Elukanlo has been staying with a priest in a suburb of Lagos, and does not have any money.

On Thursday morning Mr McDowell announced that he was lifting the deportation order against the student, following a week-long campaign organised by fellow students from his Palmerstown school.

A number of TDs, including Fianna Fáil backbencher John Curran, Socialist TD Joe Higgins and Green Party TD Ciarán Cuffe, spoke in the Dáil in favour of reversing the deportation order.