A HIGH Court judge has halted the deportation of a Nigerian who has been detained at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Aripo for almost two years, although there was an order that he be sent back to his homeland in 2016.
Justice Joan Charles made the order in a judicial review application filed by attorneys representing Emmanuel Jahbuike Onyeukwu. The injunction is until June 21, when the case comes back for hearing.
She granted him permission to seek declarations for breaches to his rights, damages for his illegal detention and several orders, including one compelling the Chief Immigration Officer to not deport him until his case is determined.
Onyeukwu says he has been in custody at the IDC for one year, 11 months and 15 days. He arrived in Trinidad on December 31, 2015, and was granted a two-week stay. He tried unsuccessfully to get an extension and had been working at Regal Factory in St Augustine while living at Old Tim Street.
Onyeukwu was arrested on May 27, 2016, and a special inquiry was held on June 22, at which he received an order of deportation.
“To date I have not been deported.”
In his lawsuit, Onyeukwu is seeking several declarations and compensation for his continued detention.
“I am a human being, and I have rights.”
In addition to seeking the local court’s assistance, Onyeukwu’s lawyers also intend to petition the Inter-American Court on Human Rights for several breaches of his rights, although this country, in 1998, withdrew from the American Convention on Human Rights. Onyeukwu’s lawsuit contends that despite TT’s withdrawal from the convention, it still has obligations to provide due process and the IACHR court entertains claims of violations of the declaration.
He said he is forced to endure horrible and squalid conditions at the IDC and is being denied his medication for high blood pressure.
Onyeukwu also said he was stabbed by a Jamaican in Octoberr.
“I am depressed,” he said, asking the court to visit the IDC to get a first-hand look at the conditions which he and other detainees are forced to endure.
He also fears he will be deported, despite there being a deportation order against him, as he has lost contact with most of his family and friends in Africa.
“It shall be hard, unjust and oppressive to have me deported.”
He is represented by a team of attorneys, including Jagdeo Singh, Shirvani Ramkissoon, Criston J Williams, Ricky Pandohee, Kiel Tacklalsingh, and Elizabeth Darwish.