The UK Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a controversial government plan to send migrants to Rwanda and upheld a lower court ruling that it was unlawful, in a major setback for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
A five-judge panel at the UK’s highest court unanimously sided with Court of Appeal judges that the policy was incompatible with Britain’s obligations under international treaties.
“We conclude that the Court of Appeal… was entitled to find that there are substantial grounds for believing that the removal of the claimants to Rwanda would expose them to a real risk of ill-treatment,” they concluded.
The judges agreed with the lower court’s June verdict that Rwanda risked forcibly returning asylum seekers and refugees to a country where they could face persecution, in a move known as refoulement.
“Having been taken through the evidence we agree with their conclusion,” they added in their 56-page ruling.
Sunak’s ruling Conservatives have insisted the Rwanda scheme is crucial to reduce “illegal” immigration across the Channel on small boats — an issue set to feature prominently in the next general election.
But the ruling scuppers a saga that began in April last year when Britain signed a deal with Rwanda to send undocumented migrants to interim centres there, and leaves the UK leader’s immigration agenda in tatters.
It is also set to widen rifts in the ruling Tory party between right-wing lawmakers and moderates.
Sunak said the ruling was “not the outcome we wanted” and the government “will now consider next steps” while ministers in Kigali “take issue” with the ruling that Rwanda was not a safe third country.
Hardliner Suella Braverman launched a scathing attack on Sunak Tuesday, the day after she was fired as interior minister, accusing him of “betrayal” and “magical thinking” over the policy.
She wants Britain to leave or disregard the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and “any other obligations which inhibit our ability to remove those with no right to be in the UK”.
The Migration and Economic Development Partnership envisages sending to Rwanda anyone who has made what the government calls “dangerous or illegal journeys, such as by small boat or hidden lorries” to the UK.
The government insists it is essential to deter migrants trying to cross the Channel from northern France in rudimentary small vessels.
More than 27,000 have made the journey this year.
The government passed legislation in July barring any “illegal” arrivals from claiming asylum.
Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” is one of his five key priorities for this year, after succeeding Liz Truss in October 2022.
His administration says regular and irregular immigration must be slashed to ease pressure on housing and other social services, such as health.
Opponents decry the Rwanda policy as cruel, expensive and difficult to implement. They also argue it is in breach of international law on asylum and refugees.
The first deportees were on a plane and ready to fly to Rwanda in June 2022 when a last-minute ECHR injunction prevented any deportations.
The High Court had ruled the plan broadly lawful, but the senior courts have now quashed that.
The Supreme Court ruling forces the government back to the drawing board to try to drive down asylum seeker numbers, with speculation it may try to strike deals with other countries.
It is also expected to renew demands from right-wingers that Britain withdraw from the ECHR — a drastic idea that Sunak has so far refused to back.
In her excoriating letter Braverman, who has called sending asylum seekers to Rwanda her “dream” and “obsession”, accused the prime minister of having “no appetite for doing what is necessary” on immigration.
She is widely believed to covet the Tory leadership and her hardline stance on the issue is seen as red meat to the party’s grassroots.
But Sunak’s surprise appointment of ex-prime minister David Cameron as foreign secretary and the switch of James Cleverly to the interior ministry suggests he is halting his party’s post-Brexit lurch to the right.
Migrant advocates welcomed Wednesday’s court ruling.
The Refugee Council said it was a “victory for the rights of men, women and children who simply want to be safe”.
Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Amnesty International’s UK arm, urged ministers to “now draw a line under a disgraceful chapter in the UK’s political history”.
‘Tinubu Won’t Tolerate Killer Herders’ – Sunday Igboho Replies Miyetti Allah
Yoruba nation activist Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, said on Sunday that President Bola Tinubu will not allow lawlessness that led to herders killing farmers under the immediate past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Igboho cautioned herders against the thought of further attacks on farmers in the Southwest.
He remarked in reaction to a comment by the national president of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, who dismissed his recent quit notice to Fulani herders to vacate the Southwest.
In October, Igboho had given Fulani herders seven days to vacate the Southwest.
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However, Bodejo had condemned the ultimatum issued by Igboho in a recent interview.
Igboho, in his reaction, described Bodejo as a “mere attention seeker.” He insisted that Nigeria’s Constitution does not support mindless killings of farmers, rape of their wives, and destruction of farmlands.
In a statement he signed, Igboho said: “Some alleged killer Fulani herders must be stopped from re-igniting tension and an atmosphere of insecurity in any part of Nigeria, most especially in the agrarian communities and settlements in Yorubaland, by the security agencies.
“It is imperative for the Miyetti Allah group to be conscious of the fact that the acts of lawlessness permeated under former President Muhammadu Buhari will not hold sway under the immediate incumbent President Bola Tinubu.
“It is glaring that Bodejo is merely seeking undue recognition through his unjustifiable position on the carnage by his fellow Fulani herders, which had caused untold hardship for small and large-scale farmers, even in the North and more prominently in the South, where they often move their cattle to graze farms and destroy cash crops.
“It will do them a lot of good to perish the thought of unprovoked attacks on farmers, particularly in the South West, where we have lost many innocent farmers. Relevant security agencies and the people will not allow them to further compound the woes of the common man.”
Julius Berger Hands Over Second Niger Bridge To FG
Construction giant and contractor of the Second Niger Bridge, Julius Berger, has formally handed over the multi-billion naira project to the Federal Government.
In a brief ceremony at toll area of the bridge, the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, expressed satisfaction with the project, confirming that the contractor had carried out repairs on the vandalized portions
He also noted that the bridge is open to concession to any private company who would be ready to complete all the ancillary roads, collect tolls and recoup investments.
Umahi hinted that modalities to ease traffic at the old and new bridges during the festive period are being worked out.
The 1.6 kilometers long bridge links Anambra and Delta states.
The Second Niger Bridge was first proposed during the 1978/79 political campaign by then-candidate Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN)
‘Waste Of Resources Amid Hardship’, Peter Obi Faults Number Of Nigerian Delegates At COP28
The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, on Sunday, faulted the number of Nigeria’s delegation at the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
President Bola Tinubu had on November 29, 2023 departed Abuja for Dubai for the summit expected to end December 12, 2023.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the ex-governor of Anambra State, described sending over 1,000 persons to the summit as a waste of scarce resources by the Tinubu administration.
Obi lamented the “huge contingent” in Dubai at public expense at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs.
“Nigeria’s contingent to COP28 totaled 1411, the same number as the Chinese contingents. While China’s budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head; Nigeria’s budget is about $33 billion, about $165 per head,” Obi said.
“Nigeria has more people living in ‘Multi-Dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times our population.”
Obi said majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either non-relevant civil servants or relations of high government officials.
“This huge contingent is out at public expense at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship.
“As we have kept emphasizing, we must stop waste as a a tradition of our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.
“We need to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour. We need to tie spending to necessity and national Priority. A New Nigeria is possible. We only need to do the reasonable and the necessary.”
Meanwhile, a presidential aide, Temitope Ajayi, in a comment on Sunday, defended the delegation of the President to the summit, saying that “President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal government delegation are in Dubai for serious business not jamboree”.
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