UPDATE: MUM & HER CHILDREN STILL HOMELESS

Marian Okeibunor is a rape survivor and mother of two young children. On 14 January 2020 she and her children were evicted by Lewisham Council and are now homeless and destitute.

Ms Okeibunor is a member of the All African Women’s Group (AAWG) and is being supported by WAR. Over 60 people have already written to the Home Office to demand that she is housed.

People from Lewisham including local councillor Alan Hall, are protesting that she was evicted and asking Lewisham council to reinstate its support. Read a great piece in the local news:

Duncan Lewis solicitors have kindly agreed to represent Ms Okeibunor and a legal challenge is due to come to court soon.

BACKGROUND

Ms Okeibunor suffered domestic violence and rape in Nigeria and a members of her family wasere attacked.  She fears that she will be killed if she is forced to go back. Her oldest child had been at his school in Lewisham for three years when Ms Okeibunor was told by the Council that she and her children had to leave their home and accept the Council’s offer of so-called Voluntary Return back to Nigeria. When she resisted the Council threatened her with “safeguarding” concerns – code for trying to take her children into care.

Her treatment is completely at odds with the Council’s new “Sanctuary Strategy” and more in accordance with the “hostile environment” regime it replaced, when Home Office staff were embedded in the Council’s Social Services.

Lewisham Cllr. Alan Hall has formally asked Lewisham Mayor, Damien Egan to intervene to reinstate Ms Okeibunor support.

Ms Okeibunor has also tried to claim asylum but the Home Office is refusing to acknowledge her claim or provide asylum support (NASS) unless she goes in person to the Home Offiice with her children. This is an outrageous demand considering we are all living through and trying to survive a pandemic. It goes against government regulations to stay home. It is also discriminatory and racist considering that Ms Okeibunor is a woman of colour and that people of colour are particularly at risk from the virus.

TWO THINGS YOU CAN DO

  1. Write to the Home Office and demand that Ms Okeibunor is given asylum support and accommodation (NASS). Action Alert and template letter here.
    cc Vicky Foxcroft MP | vicky.foxcroft.mp@parliament.uk | @vickyfoxcroft
    and WAR | asylumfromrape@womenagainstrape.net | @AgainstRape
  2. For people in Lewisham please demand Lewisham Council reinstate housing and support for the family immediately. Please write/tweet to the Mayor to ask him to intervene (Damien.egan@lewisham.gov.uk @damienegan). Also, please tweet at the Lewisham councillors listed below.

Lewisham Councillors:

  • Cllr Paul Bell (Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning)
    Twitter @PaulBell1971
  • Cllr Kevin Bonavia (Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability) Twitter: @KevinBonavia
  • Cllr Luke Sorba (Chair, Children and Young People Select Committee) Twitter: @LukeSorbaLabour

 

Previous updates here:
- 29/01/21 - UPDATE: Mum & her children made homeless
- Demand emergency housing and support for a rape survivor and mother with two young children