The Canadian government must grant Victoria Oladimeji and Esther Oladimeji immediate stay

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Emergency call for solidarity and a stop of deportation:

52-year-old Victoria Oladimeji, and her mother, 83-year-old Esther Oladimeji arrived in Canada on June 28, 2018. Victoria and Esther escaped Nigeria due to violence and insecurity inflicted upon their minority Christian community by extremist Fulani Herdsmen. The Canadian government is now threatening to deport them.
In January of 2018, Victoria and Esther’s community in Benue State, Nigeria was attacked by a group of Fulani Herdsmen, a well-known extremist religious group in Nigeria. That night, 75 members of their community were massacred, and Victoria and Esther’s home was burned to the ground along with all their cherished belongings.

Amidst the violence and uncertainty, Victoria and Esther fled their community in Benue State and made way to Lagos with little to no financial means. To Victoria and Esther’s dismay, the harassment continued.  In the span of a few months their home in Lagos was burglarized twice. Victoria was also consistently receiving phone calls by people threatening to murder her and her mother. Victoria suspects that it was the Fulani Herdsmen and their accomplices, as they knew of her escape and have reach and influence in the various regions of Nigeria. 

The consistent persecution alongside the subjugation to extreme poverty prompted Victoria and Esther to make way to Canada to seek asylum. Victoria and Esther’s experiences have left an indelible mark on their lives.

“Over the years, my mother and I have developed severe psychological issues that stem from the trauma we have experienced in Nigeria, which only worsened after our refugee claim was refused. New Psychological Assessments were completed for me and my mother on January 17, 2020. As a result, my mother was diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety, and severe memory and concentration issues. She also exhibits symptoms of Dementia. I was diagnosed with cognitive difficulty, severe anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Victoria states.

Victoria, who is the primary caretaker of her mother, also suffers from ligament tears in her right knee, which has been the direct cause of severe mobility issues. She currently awaits a surgery date for her knee to be operated on.
Despite her medical conditions, Victoria has acclimated and adjusted quite well in Canada. She volunteers at the local Salvation Army daily, helping with their food bank. She is also an active member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and assists with preparation for events held at the church. Victoria and Esther are also members of the African Community Organization of Windsor.

Based on the current medical state of both Victoria and Esther, as well as the consistent persecution of Christian minority communities in Nigeria, if the Canadian government were to fulfill a deportation order to Nigeria it would be the most irresponsible course of action.
Due to anxiety from the imminent threat of being removed from Canada, one week ago, Victoria fainted at the African Community Organization of Windsor’s office and was taken to the hospital complaining of severe chest pain, she was kept at the hospital overnight. She then underwent a specialist’s stress test and is still awaiting the results. Based on Victoria’s hospital discharge letter Victoria’s family doctor has stated that removing Victoria from Canada in her current state could put her life at serious risk because she will not have access to adequate treatment.
Firstly, the healthcare system in Nigeria is one of the lowest ranking in the world, and suffers from a plethora of problems including: “financial management competency, inadequate funding, and inadequate and inefficient health facilities,” as outlined in a report by the World Health Organization.
Secondly, sectarian violence targeting minority Christian communities is rife in Nigeria, and all indications show that an already fragile situation seems only to be worsening. “They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos,” said Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, in a press conference late February speaking on Boko Haram and other closely aligned extremist groups. Boko Haram has killed more than 27,000 civilians in Nigeria. This is greater than the amount of civilians ISIS killed in Iraq and Syria combined. The Global Terrorism Index states that Nigeria is the third-most dangerous country after Afghanistan and Iraq.
After assessing Victoria and Esther’s personal situations and carefully studying the current country conditions in Nigeria we demand that based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds Victoria and Esther are granted an immediate stay.

Victoria and Esther’s removal date is scheduled for March 19, 2020. The government must intervene.

To that end, we are asking all community leaders, organizations, businesses, and concerned individuals to support the cause by signing this petition, which will be distributed to:

o  Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or
613-944-4875 or 1-800-830-3118

o  Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration
613-992-6361 or 416-781-5583

o  Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

In addition to any other relevant parties. Furthermore, we encourage you to contact these ministers and express your concerns personally, please feel free to utilize portions of this letter. It’s time for us to come together and stand up for a family in need, this issue is of utmost importance and we must act now!

Thank you for your time and compassion.