A boy who was spared from deportation to a country where he didn't speak the language has thanked those who helped him stay in Ireland.
Offaly teenager Nonso Muojeke 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The Department of Justice confirmed on Wednesday that the deportation order against the 14-year-old and his family had been revoked and that the Tullamore residents had been given permission to remain in the State.
A student of Tullamore College, he was at the centre of a community led campaign to halt his deportation and that of his older brother Viktor and his mother Chidiebere Muojeke. The Uplift petition to halt the deportation was signed by more than 21,000 people.
He issued a statement on Wednesday evening following the announcement that he and his family had been granted leave to remain in Ireland.
In it he said: “I would like to thank the Minister [for Justice] for the humane way in which he handled my case. I am very grateful to my friends, my school, the Tullamore community and everyone else who has supported me. I am really looking forward to my future here in Ireland.”
A statement from the Department of Justice said the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) had revoked the deportation order following “a detailed reconsideration of the family’s immigration case in light of court proceedings and the receipt of updated submissions from the family in September.
“The reconsideration was completed towards the end of last week with the relevant decision letters having been issued earlier this week.”
The teenager moved to Ireland with his mother and older brother after his father died in 2007.
The family fled Nigeria because of the ill-treatment Mr Muojeke’s mother had faced. However, their application for asylum was declined in 2009 and they were served with a deportation order.
Mr Muojeke’s mother continued to engage with the State through solicitors but the family’s application for humanitarian leave to remain in 2017 was refused.
The family can now legally live and work in the country.