This summer has been a great one for HRI! We have yet another recent success story of a Nigerian man who was recently granted asylum! Our client fled Nigeria after being persecuted as a member of the Biafra movement, a peaceful political party that wants cessation from the corrupt governance of President Goodluck Johnathan and control of their own resources. Our client, Okechi, was detained multiple times for attending demonstrations. While in detention along with some of his family members, he was beaten, tortured, and sexually abused multiple times. He fled with the help of friends and left the country, only to find more trouble on the way to the US. Okechi and his family travelled from Nigeria to South America and then slowly made their way up. Along the way, they were abandoned by their coyotes only to run into a group of guerillas who demanded money. When they could not provide the money, one of Okechi’s family members was killed as punishment. The group was then detained as illegal immigrants and spent months of attempting to reach the States. Okechi is finally a liberated man having been granted asylum.
The country is fractured with many states and many tribes; violence is all too common. In 2009, Nigeria’s political Islamist group Boko Haram plagued the Northern territories with a massacre that killed as many as 4,000 people. We welcome Okechi to the safety of the United States and look forward to his life as a US citizen.