A KIDNEY patient who faces death in her home country is facing
further doubt about whether she might be deported. Specialists
treating the patient, Nigerian-born Roseline Akhalu, say that she
would die within weeks of arriving in her country, as she could not
afford the medical treatment to keep her alive.At an Upper
Immigration Tribunal held in London on Thursday of last week, the
Home Office challenged a judicial ruling that she could stay in
Britain, and the tribunal judges reserved their decision to a
Mrs Akhalu, a 49-year-old widow, came to the UK in 2004 on a
Ford Foundation scholarship to read for a Master's degree at Leeds
University. But she developed kidney failure shortly after her
arrival. She underwent dialysis treatment until a successful
transplant in 2009, but she needs regular hospital checks and
The Home Office declared her a "health tourist", and began
deportation procedures, but last November she won the right to
At the hearing last week, Christopher Avery, for the Home
Secretary, said: "The Secretary of State's general view is that, as
a fundamental principle, the welfare of an individual remains the
responsibility of the state. Her welfare and care is the
responsibility of Nigerian authorities in this case."
But counsel for Mrs Akhalu, Ronan Toal, said that her siblings
could not support her, and she would not be able to afford the
treatment. "She would die in a harrowing and undignified way within
about four weeks of moving to Nigeria," he said.
Mrs Akhalu is a member of the congregation at St Augustine's, a
Roman Catholic church near her home in Harehills, Leeds. She is
supported by her church, and by the former Lord Mayor of Leeds,
Canon Alan Taylor.
The Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, and
her MP, Greg Mulholland, have written to the Immigration Minister,
Damian Green, urging him to intervene.
After the 90-minute hearing, Mrs Akhalu said: "I was very
devastated when they appealed against my case. . . . I just want
them [the Home Office] to let me be so I can live my life. I'm a
law-abiding citizen." She also has the backing of the actor Colin
Firth, who said: "We all hope that the good sense and humanity
displayed so far by the courts will now prevail, and that her life
will be saved."