YOU'RE NOT WANTED: Court orders star pupil must be deported

A FORMER head boy of Greig City Academy is absolutely devastated after a High Court Judge ruled he should be deported

Charlotte Newton

A FORMER head boy of Greig City Academy is "absolutely devastated" after a High Court Judge ruled he should be deported.

Damilola Ajagbonna's dreams of reading political sciences at Sheffield University and then returning to his Hornsey secondary school to teach were dashed when his final appeal for the right to remain in Britain was rejected.

He is expected to be ordered to return to Nigeria at any minute.

Mr Ajagbonna, 19, said: "I'm absolutely devastated at the High Court ruling. Justice is punishment for the guilty but I've never knowingly done anything wrong.

"I was brought here as a child by my mother to live with my aunt and as far as I was aware she had adopted me. It was only when I filled in my Ucas form that I learned of my illegal status."

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Mr Ajagbonna arrived in London in May 1999, aged 11. His mother suffers from sickle cell anaemia and thought her youngest son would be better off living with his aunt who was working as a nurse in Muswell Hill .

Mr Ajagbonna's battle with the Home Office began two years ago. After filling in his Ucas university application, he received a letter from the Government informing him he had no right to remain in Britain.

He was told he could not apply for British citizenship because he had only been in the country for six years and 44 weeks - eight weeks short of the seven years which gives children the right to apply.

Campaigners say the promising student has made a huge contribution to the community. At Greig City Academy he was head boy for two years, achieved 11 GCSEs and three A levels.

This week the Bishop of London awarded him the St Mellitus medal for his contribution and the United Nations has also recognised his talents, appointing him an adviser on youth issues to Unicef. But despite his impressive record, High Court Judge Mrs Justice Dobbs last week ruled that she could find no legal reason to overturn the decision to deport him.

Mr Ajagbonna said: "Moving to Britain as a child was very painful for me and really difficult.

"The only way for me to survive here was to focus on my new life and shut out memories of my life in Nigeria.

"To be told, as an adult, that I have to leave my life in Britain and return to Nigeria is equally painful because everything I have is here now. I don't know of anything else."

Immigration Rules

- how to stay

A person can be granted indefinite leave to remain in Britain solely on the basis of the length of his or her residence, where:

o The person has been in the UK for 10 years lawfully.

o They have been here for 14 years in a mixture of lawful and unlawful residence prior to the commencement of enforcement action.

o Children or illegal entrants have accumulated seven years' residence and are under 18 at the date of decision. In these cases, their parents are also allowed to stay.