One Free World International invites you and your friends to join us in Mississauga on September 28 at 2 p.m. in a rally to support Ola Akins, a Nigerian woman who has lived in sanctuary at her church for two years to avoid deportation and separation from her twelve-year-old Canadian daughter.
Since 1995 Ola has unsuccessfully sought permanent resident status in Canada. A final decision is outstanding but Ola has been living in sanctuary since a deportation order went into effect in October 2006. She cannot leave the church yet the refuge it offers is uncertain since it is based on custom rather than law. The situation is also very challenging for her daughter, Alice, who spends her evenings after school with Ola at the church.
Unlike Canadian women, women in Nigeria have very little power or status. Discriminatory attitudes, policies, and violence against women, typically by family members, are common and accepted. Islam is very strong and religious conflict common, especially in the north where twelve states have implemented Islamic shariah law, as discussed in previous OFWI alerts. Moreover, Ola is from a rural area of Nigeria where tribal customs, such as female genital mutilation (female circumcision) and tribal markings or scarring, are common.
Ola has spent almost 18 years or most of her adult life in Canada and has few ties to Nigeria. Without family support or other ties, Ola fears discrimination, persecution, and cruel and dangerous tribal customs if she is deported. She will have little opportunity to support herself even temporarily while her Canadian status is processed and, hopefully, approved. Ola cannot leave Alice in Canada, but under these circumstances she cannot bring her with her to Nigeria. Alice would have few opportunities to obtain an education and her Canadian citizenship will not protect her from human rights abuses and tribal customs.
We want to take the opportunity of Ola’s second anniversary in sanctuary to show her that she is not forgotten and to encourage the government to stay the deportation so that Ola can rejoin her family and provide Alice some stability until a decision is made in her case. Ultimately we hope she will be able to stay in Canada where she can provide the care and guidance that Alice needs.
Also, please PRAY:
• for Ola and Alice, that they would be comforted and have patience and courage to endure, and that the deportation order would be stayed while they wait for the Immigration Department’s response so that Ola can live a normal life and provide the support and care that Alice needs;
• that Canadian immigration officials would be moved with compassion in Ola’s situation and grant her request for permanent resident status so that she and Alice can continue to live together in Canada with hope and personal security; and,
• for the people of Nigeria, that equality, respect, human rights, peace, and justice would prevail in their country.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action by:
• joining us at the rally in support of Ola on September 28, 2008 at 2 p.m. The event will take place at Trinity Anglican Church at 26 Stavebank Road North in Mississauga (in Port Credit at Stavebank Rd. and Lakeshore Rd., west of Hurontario). Please also inform us if you are coming and how many people will be with you by email at firstname.lastname@example.org;
• spreading the word and asking your friends to join us; and,
• if you would like to write letters of encouragement to Ola and Alice, please send them to One Free World International by email at email@example.com or by regular mail (address below). Mark your email or letter clearly to the attention of Ola and Alice and we will ensure that they receive your thoughts and encouragement.
"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.