Vivian Abbe Ojie & Family - Campaign To Stay!

Geraldine Agbor


Vivian Abbe Ojie fled Nigeria because she feared being persecuted as the daughter of a former head of the Ogboni cult in Lagos as she was refusing to take over the mantle of her deceased father. The Ogboni cult is a secret society where members engage in black magic rituals. This society has members throughout Nigeria and her father would travel all over the country to meet fellow Ogboni members. Vivian's father told her that as she was his first born child  she would have to take over as head of the Lagos membership (which is usually passed through patrilineal descent). Vivian did not wish to get involved, but her father kept saying she had no choice but to obey his demands.

In 2002, Vivian got married and lived with her husband in Lagos. She became a Catholic like her husband. She got baptised but had to conceal it from her family. On 15 July 2004, Vivian's father died. One week after his death, 10 of her father's friends came to her house at night dressed in white with red cloth covering their heads. They told her she had to undergo rituals to be initiated as the next leader of the Ogboni cult in Lagos. One Ogboni ritual included her remaining in the same room as her dead father for 2 days before getting her nails and hair cut. The members became angry with her when she said she did not want to get involved. They told her they would leave her to consider her position - but that the consequences of not becoming involved in Ogboni cult would lead to them making her life very miserable.

Vivian was pregnant; she and her husband became very frightened for their lives and that of their unborn child. Vivian feared the members would persecute her. Vivian did not complain to the police because she feared they would not support her due to their own membership of this cult. She felt she would be in danger no matter where she lived in Nigeria. Thus, she made arrangements to leave Nigeria for Canada. Her husband agreed with this decision. She went into hiding until the day came for her to travel out of Nigeria. Since then, Vivian has had no direct contact with her mother or husband. She has heard news that the Ogboni members are still searching for her - so it is unsafe for her to return to Nigeria whilst persecution exists.  

The Home Office have refused to grant Vivian and her daughter asylum. Vivian was then dispersed to Glasgow where she has felt safe and settled. Vivian was arrested when she went to sign at  an immigration office last week. She was taken to detention and is now in Yarl's Wood detention centre waiting forced removal.

Immigration tried to forcibly remove her last Monday but failed.

New removal directions have been set for Friday 3 March 2006 for flight BA075 at 12.20pm from London Heathrow to Lagos.  

Vivian is very distressed and traumatised. Her baby and she suffer from ill health and so are unfit for travel. Princess (her daughter) has been attending Yorkhill Sick Children's hospital in Glasgow for various complaints - it is a disgrace that Home Office officials acting on behalf of UK Home Secretary are willing to forcibly remove women and children who suffer ill health.

Given the human rights record of Nigeria, its high levels of corruption and the religious persecution that exists in Nigeria today (all these concerns are supported by numerous independent human rights reports produced by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UK Foreign Office country reports etc.) it is inhumane of UK Home Office to forcibly return this vulnerable mother and baby where their lives will be at risk.

What you can do to help

Fax/email Tony McNulty Minister for Immigration requesting that he defers Vivian's imminent removal and reviews her asylum claim.

Fax: 020 7219 2417 from outside the UK + 44 20 7219 2417


Tony McNulty
Minister for Immigration
3rd Floor
Peel Building

2 Marsham Street

Please notify the campaign of any Faxes/emails sent:

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March 2006

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