Deportees in their own words

Passengers tell of their bad experiences

A number of the Nigerians on the failed deportation flight from


in December 2010 gave recorded testimonies to the

Irish Refugee Council


, copies of which have been made available to

The Irish Times

. For confidentiality reasons, the IRC has given the participants pseudonyms. This is a snapshot of their experiences.


Nkiru, mother of two girls aged five and eight

, described how the Garda National Immigration Bureau officers arrived: "I had made a preliminary booking of a ticket back to Nigeria on February 24th, 2011. I was willing to go home, but didn't want my children to go through the trauma of deportation. I could not leave before February 24th as it was so expensive, and I showed the immigration officers evidence that I had booked this.

“They came at 6am. I was asleep. I heard a voice saying, ‘it’s time to go home’. I asked the police for time to tell my children what was happening and to give them time to dress. They were not allowed to dress. We went to the airport in the clothes they were sleeping as did I.

“A lot of people were there already. We were there for maybe two hours, and then they called my name. They said we have to go to the city to take our passport photograph. They called another guy too and they handcuffed us. I asked why and they said for security reason . . . They handcuffed us and brought us to GNIB.”


David, living in Ireland for 12 years, a separated father of three children including one autistic child, had taken out a mortgage on a house in the northeast. He had been working to pay for this, as he says he had initially been given “papers”.

“They came at about 4.30am. I was sleeping and there was a knock on the door. They say to open the door and they come in and say I have to go to Nigeria. I said that I was to sign on Friday and I have my mortgage and they should give me time to sell my house and I paid €35,000 deposit . . .

“I find it very hard to sleep and I have shortness of breath because I always think about the pain, the stress, the abuse. I have been in this country for 12 years now and I have kids here. I find it very difficult to cope. I am now regretting coming to Ireland for the first time, if I had known this kind of abuse happens here. The way they are mistreating people, especially Nigerians . . .”



was living with her four-year-old son in Monaghan and awaiting the outcome of a subsidiary protection application. She says she had received no deportation order when officers arrived:

“One came in and told me to drop my phone and get my stuff immediately. The fear that was put on me, you know, couldn’t allow me to co-ordinate myself very well because they were huge and I was very scared. My son . . . woke up and started crying ‘Mummy what is it, why are these people here in our room?’

“I said ‘no problem’, that he should sit and I’d brush his teeth and all. They said ‘no,’ I have to change my clothes or else I would have to go in pyjamas. So going without pyjamas I have to quickly change to what I had in my hand that time. . . . “My son didn’t eat, I didn’t eat . . .

“What they show me, what they says, they were immigration officers, then they brought out a paper with a picture of my face and my son’s face and that was it and they didn’t show me any deportation letters. When I told them that I didn’t have any deportation letter, they didn’t show me anything . . .”



was in Portlaoise, Co Laois, when he was taken by the GNIB.

“We were squashed in the plane we were not comfortable. In the plane we were served bread and water. We asked why we were only being given this and was it because we were refugees that you are treating us like this. They took the phone when we were on the plane. Our handbags were put in a plastic bag. We were not allowed to carry luggage . . .

“Nobody called us to say what would happen. We are human beings and we are supposed to be spoken to. I am in Balseskin now. I was told that I can’t stay Portlaoise. I don’t have a jacket. They cleaned the room and everything, I can’t get anything. We got the luggage that they brought with us.

“I am sick and tired of all this. If they are taking us to our country they should take us but we should go with dignity. We are not criminals . . .”