Michael and others were instructed by officers from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB)to sign on twice daily in their hostel, leaving them under virtual house arrest. The action taken by the GNIB prevented the men from visiting their wives and children.
The asylum seekers bravely persevered in their fight to gain rights that had unjustly been taken away from them. Michael was one of the last to come off hunger strike and due to the pressure the GNIB eventually granted their request to sign on once a day.
But because of the increasingly racist attitudes within the immigration system their success was short-lived. On the 18th Michael was, as usual, signing on with Guards from the GNIB. His friends noticed Guards taken him into an empty room and heard loud screams coming from inside the door. When Michael reappeared his face and hands were covered in blood. He was then taken to Clover Hill prison for deportation.
When Residents Against Racism (RAR) heard of the incident they contacted Clover Hill prison to confirm he was there and get a visitation order. At 4.30am, however, Michael was deported on a scheduled flight back to Nigeria. The Justice Department and Garda immigration officers are obviously cooperating in this vicious assault on Michael. When RAR contacted Refugee Legal Services they confirmed Michael's appeal for asylum had not been refused and that it was an illegal deportation and insisted he be returned.
It's not the first and won't be the last time this will occur. Just days after McDowell's racist outburst of claiming all asylum seekers are bogus, Michael Alabi was illegally deported by McDowell and his hench-men in this blatant cover up. Asylum seekers flee from persecution to seek protection from the Irish state not to be brutally attacked by it.
Dermot Sreenan & James O'Brien
This edition is No87 published in July 2005