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Speakers refused access to UK.

Speakers refused access to UK.

When Christiana Ejura Attah, a barrister and academic from Nigeria, applied for a visa to speak at a renowned international African studies conference held at Cambridge University in September, she was denied entry to the UK.

British embassy officials decided Attah was likely not to return to Nigeria, because her husband, also an academic, had been granted a visa to the same three-day conference. Officials chose not to take into account that she would be leaving four children in Nigeria, or that she had a letter from her vice-chancellor at the Joseph Ayo Babalola University confirming her credentials and that she had been supported to make her UK visit with a £2,500 grant.

Attah, who had been due to present her research on the lack of legal protection for women and children in state camps for people made homeless by conflict in Nigeria, says: “I felt disappointed and humiliated”. She adds: “It is a shame that this could come from the UK. I would not know if this was a bias against women but the fact is that my husband and a junior male colleague from my department were given visas for this conference while I was not.”

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