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Priti Patel urged to justify claim that most boat migrants are not real refugees


Priti Patel urged to justify claim that most boat migrants are not real refugees

There are calls for Priti Patel to withdraw or justify claims she made before parliament that most people who travel to the UK in small boats are not genuine asylum seekers.

Two Labour peers, David Blunkett and Shami Chakrabarti, have also questioned whether the home secretary has evidence that backs her claim that “70% of individuals on small boats are single men who are effectively economic migrants”.

There is deepening concern from refugee charities that the government is feeding an untrue narrative that claims migrants who travel to the UK by boat are undeserving of sympathy.

At the Lords home affairs and justice committee last week, Patel was questioned about her new policy of deeming any person who arrives in the UK to claim asylum after passing through a “safe” country as “inadmissible” – meaning their claim will not be considered.

Describing the people who would fall into this category, she said: “In the last year, 70% of individuals on small boats are single men who are effectively economic migrants. They are not genuine asylum seekers.”

Home Office officials were asked to provide data that backed up the home secretary’s assertions.

The Home Office has declined to give an official response to a request from the Guardian. A source responded by saying that of 8,500 people arriving by small boat in 2020 87% were men and 74% were aged between 18 and 39 – but did not provide evidence related to their asylum claims.

Lady Chakrabarti, the former head of Liberty and a member of the committee, said Patel’s comments should be properly explained, corrected or withdrawn.

“Both the refugee convention and the lives of desperate people are too precious for the home secretary’s 70% statement to go unchallenged,” she said.

“Is the Home Office really saying that most single male asylum seekers or most people crossing the Channel are ‘economic migrants’ and unworthy of refuge? If yes, what happened to giving anxious scrutiny to every individual claim for asylum?”

Lord Blunkett, the former Labour home secretary who asked Patel the question that provoked the “70%” response, said the government could struggle to justify the figure because officials were still processing a backlog of asylum claims.

“It is not surprising that the Home Office has not responded [to the Guardian’s request to justify the 70% claim] given that the backlog of cases is so extreme. The latest figure I saw was 125,000, which exceeds many previous years.

“There is a presumption being made by the home secretary about their claims before they have had an opportunity to make their claims. Until the backlog is massively reduced we won’t know about those arrivals who come over the summer,” he said.

In oral evidence to the home affairs select committee in September 2020, Abi Tierney, the director general of UK Visas and Immigration, stated that of 5,000 people who had crossed in 2020 until the date of the committee meeting, 98% had claimed asylum.

Published Home Office data shows that many of those arriving on small boats whose claims were deemed inadmissible originate from conflict zones such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.

Dr Peter Walsh, a researcher at the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: “A majority of asylum claims (including those of people who arrived in the UK by small boat) are ultimately successful. Specifically, the Home Office reports that 59% of claims filed in 2017 to 2019 inclusive were ultimately successful, accounting for appeals.

“It is reasonable to suppose that Channel migrants will be more likely than other asylum seekers to have their asylum claims granted. This is because the nationalities that are most common among Channel migrants – like Iranian, Syrian, Afghan and Yemeni – have a higher-than-average likelihood of ultimately being successful. It is not clear what evidence exists to support the claim that 70% of Channel migrants are economic migrants. But on the basis of the available data, it seems unlikely that no more than 30% of Channel migrants would have their asylum claims accepted.”

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NSCDC To Deploy 30,000 Officers For 2023 Elections

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has disclosed that it will deploy 30,000 operatives to ensure peace during the upcoming general elections in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Commandant- General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday,

He said the operatives would be deployed nationwide to maintain peace.

He said the NSCDC has perfected plans to deploy all resources needed to provide security during the election.

“The corps is poised fairly, and ready to apply all the arsenals needed to provide security and safety for the elections.

“We have an operations department of over 30,000 personnel but then we will also deploy others when the time comes.

“Normally we have the bulk of our people in operations and those who are in operations partake in election processes,” he said.

Audi said that the corps had also perfected plans to begin seminars and workshops in October to discuss the preparedness of the organization towards the general elections.

“We want to tell our people that if you go and involve yourself by becoming partisan you are on your own.

“There are certain things we have introduced in our Standard Operating Procedure — that once you go partisan and you are caught, you will face sanctions and you are on your own.

“So we are ready to partake in the election like I said because we are apolitical and we are going to provide a level-playing field for all citizens to be involved in the elections and exercise their franchise.”

Audi said that the NSCDC partook in election activities because it’s a member of the Inter-agency, Consultative Committee on Election Security.

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NSIA Not Stakeholder In Nigeria Air- F.G

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has declared that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is not an investor in the Nigeria Air project.

Sirika made the clarification in a statement issued by James Odaudu, his special assistant on public affairs, on Saturday.

The minister had listed NSIA as part of the local investors with stakes in the national carrier.

He said the NSIA is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, adding that the error was made during his media briefing.

“We wish to clarify that the Authority (NSIA) is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, being a government establishment,” Sirika said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the equity ownership structure of Nigeria Air stands as Ethiopian Airlines 49%, Nigerian private investors (SAHCO, MRS and other institutional investors) 46% and the Federal Government 5%.

“The public, especially the business community and the media, should please note”, the statement added.

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Nigerians Not Ripe Enough To Bear Arms- NSCDC

Nigerians are not ripe to be allowed to bear arms.

This is according to the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi who made the observation when he attended the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

“I strongly disapproved of it. Even now that there is no law in existence, you still have proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of people.

“It has to do with civilisation and education.

“Even in Europe and America where they have that law where virtually everybody once you can drive can have arms, they are trying to control it now because of how some events unfold.

“In the world, especially in Europe and America, somebody will just wake up and just go to a school and open fire on kids. You know that is madness.

“And so for me, I don’t think we are there yet to allow citizens carry arms” , he said.


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