After 500 days in sanctuary, Victoria and Favour go back home
Article: Rikkeal Bohmann – News Editor
After nearly 500 days spent in sanctuary, Victoria Sharon Ordu and Ihuoma Favour Amadi have voluntarily left Canada to go back home after facing deportation charges. The young women boarded the plane Friday, Oct. 18 before 10am.
The two Nigerian students first came into trouble when they mistakenly broke their visa conditions. They did this by working two weeks at Wal-Mart. They did not have the then separate work permits needed to work off campus. Until then, they had been third year students studying at the University of Regina. Since June 18, 2012, this two week illegal mistake has forced the students to hide in a church in Regina, waiting to find out their fates.
After losing almost two years of their lives to hiding, the young women decided their own fates after much fighting.
Vianne Timmons, President of the U of R, who has been supportive of the two students since the beginning of their struggles, was at the airport to say goodbye to the women. Timmons vowed that she was committed to supporting them if they chose to reapply at the U of R in the future.
The U of R’s Students’ Union, who also supported their fellow students said, “The URSU has advocated for the women to remain in the province to finish their education but those pleas have fallen on unsympathetic ears,” and went on to say in their media release, “It is beyond disappointing to know that even the support of the Provincial Government, Federal MPs, University Administration and the majority of the general public cannot dissuade the Federal Government from their course of action.”
Ralph Goodale, Liberal MP, who had brought this case up in Parliament had believed that the students should have been able to stay and continue their studies. Unfortunately, the federal ministers in charge of this case would not change their minds. Goodale argued that “reprimands, or warnings, or fines” were the usual consequences, but never deportation. This case is indeed a first.
[pullquote]“I was informed the girls had decided to go back to Nigeria just in the last week, week and a half.”[/pullquote]
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) put out a media release stating on Friday the women left, confirming their departure, “The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) today announced the removal of two Nigerian students who were hiding in a place of worship in Regina.”
Timmons confirmed the girls left voluntarily, telling Global News, “I was informed the girls had decided to go back to Nigeria just in the last week, week and a half.”
One side of the issue that has been largely left out of the dialogue is Wal-Mart and their role in the U of R students’ misfortune. Some question how the company would allow the two to work when their SIN cards clearly stated that they weren’t allowed to work off campus.
Many at the U of R backed the two. Professor of Political Science Joseph Mburu called the deportation order ‘draconian’ when the Carillon first covered the story.
The crime clearly did not fit the punishment.