SASKATOON (CUP) — After 16 months of hiding in Regina churches, Victoria Ordu and Favour Amadi have returned to Nigeria.
Ordu and Amadi were seen at the Regina International Airport the morning of Oct. 18 when they voluntarily left the country.
Ordu and Amadi sought sanctuary after they both received deportation orders on June 19, 2012. Both women had worked at a Regina Wal-Mart in the spring of 2011 without proper social insurance numbers or work permits. Ordu quit as soon as she realized her error, however Amadi was arrested while at work.
The University of Regina students were both in their third year of studies — Ordu studying theatre arts and Amadi international studies.
U of R President Vianne Timmons was reported as being present at the airport when the two students began their journey home.
Timmons told CTV News Regina that “they’re worried and they’re scared and they’re young girls, young women. And they’re frightened. They also seemed calm.”
Amadi and Ordu’s plan to leave on their own accord had been on the table since September, Timmons said in the same segment. The students hope their chances of being readmitted into the country will be better if they leave willingly.
Timmons and the U of R have shown their support for Ordu and Amadi since the women went into hiding. Timmons fundraised $6,000 to cover the students’ flights home. She told CTV News Regina that she help fund the young women’s return because she cares deeply about them and wanted them to be able to see that they had support in the community.
The issue surrounding the women’s deportation orders has been met with criticism of the Harper government and its tough-on-crime stance. In particular, Wascana MP Ralph Goodale spoke out against the heavy consequence of deportation in an Oct. 30, 2012 debate in the House of Commons.
“With respect to these Nigerian students, whose only offence was the honest mistake of working for two weeks at Wal-Mart, the minister knows that deportation would destroy their education and damage them for life,” Goodale said in the debate.
“Other people in similar circumstances have been given simple fines, so why deportation in these two cases? How is that consistent with others who have just been given fines?”
The Canadian Border Services Agency issued a press release announcing the removal of the students on Oct. 18.
“The removal of these individuals demonstrates the commitment to maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration program,” the CBSA press release stated.
Photo: Troy Fleece/Regina Leader Post