Seoul to deport Nigerian fleeing Boko Haram

Seoul, Oct 23 (IANS) A Nigerian man, who smuggled himself into South Korea to take shelter from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, faces deportation as an appeals court overturned its initial ruling, the media reported on Friday.

The court on Thursday ruled against the Nigerian, who illegally entered the country by sea last year and applied for refugee status upon his arrival citing attacks and threats from the terrorist group in his home country, The Korea Herald reported.

While the refugee application was in process, he filed a lawsuit to cancel the deportation order of the immigration office that took issue with his illegal entry and demanded that he return to his country.

The appeals court, however, upheld the immigration office’s decision, saying that he can possibly avoid the threat from Boko Haram while still living in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian moved to the town of Bama in 2010 after living in the southern city of Lagos for years. Considering Boko Haram is based in the North, there is little possibility of being persecuted if he lives in Lagos,” the court said in its ruling.

The Nigerian applied for refugee status in 2007 during his short trip to South Korea on a tourist visa. Claiming to be the son of the chief of a tribe based in Bama, he argued that Boko Haram had attacked him and his family after he granted his tribe members the freedom of religion.

The deportation order will be suspended while the application process is underway, which normally takes two to three years. He will be housed in the detention centre for foreigners until a decision is taken.

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