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Monday, 9 November 2015

Nigerian Father And Massob Member Tony Ilunno Claims His Daughter Will Be Circumcised And His Own Life In Danger If He Is Deported Back To Nigeria From Australia

Crystal Iluno, 10, has asked the Federal Circuit Court to let her remain in Australia. Picture: Roy VanDerVegt.

LIKE many girls her age, Crystal Iluno has friends at school, family, church commitments, choir practice — and nightmares that wake her in the early hours of the morning.

Unlike her peers, Crystal dreams not of monsters but of being deported to Nigeria, and of the terrible fate awaiting the Ilunos in their homeland.

On Friday, the family will ask the Federal Circuit Court to review the Immigration Department’s refusal to grant Crystal a visa that would, in turn, allow them all to stay in Adelaide.
Her father, Tony, told The Advertiser that the stakes were especially high for Crystal because she would be forced to undergo female genital mutilation upon their return.

“She is a child, she is a minor, and the psychological trauma she would go through is what we are concerned about,” he said.

“If she is forced to go to Nigeria it is going to happen, and she doesn’t even know what it means.

“Every midnight she wakes saying ‘Daddy, I can’t sleep, I can’t stop worrying about what’s going to happen to me’.”

Mr Iluno and his family — wife Jecinta, Crystal, 10 and Favour, 7 — came to Adelaide in 2011 after he obtained a student visa.

He currently works as a State Government disability support worker, while his wife is also a public servant and the children attend their local primary school.

In August, former Immigration Minister Michaela Cash declined to intervene on the family’s behalf and exempt them from returning to Nigeria at the expiration of Mr Iluno’s visa.
An application on behalf of Crystal was also refused.

Tony, far left, and Jecinta Iluno, far right, with Crystal 10, and Flavour, 7. Picture: Roy VanDerVegt.
The family, supported by the Anglican Church, has since sought the help of current Minister Peter Dutton and asked the Federal Circuit Court to review the decision regarding Crystal.

They also have the support of Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who said he was seeking to meet with Mr Dutton upon his return from overseas.

“I have urged the Minister’s office to agree to an interim injunction so I can meet with him next week, face to face,” he said.

“The Ilunos are really valued members of the community and we have a shortage of skills in disability care ... there are many reasons this review should be granted.”

On Thursday afternoon, the family was granted a bridging visa until next Tuesday.

Although it permits them to live outside of immigration detention, they may neither work nor attend school during that period.

If their fails, they will be required to leave the country immediately unless Mr Dutton chooses to intervene.

The Advertiser understands the family has been told it will not receive assistance purchasing airline tickets should its case fail.

Mr Iluno said he was a member of the Movement for Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, a secessionist group that is persecuted in Nigeria.

“Even now, some people that have come back from abroad and their families are kidnapped from their hotel rooms ... they just disappear, all the children, all the parents,” he said.

“We want the Minister to know that we have become part of the community, that we contribute to it, that we are safe here and we want to stay here.

“Our children have grown up here, they are very Australian in their thinking — can you imagine forcing them to leave the place they see as home?”

Crystal said she hoped her application would succeed.

“I’ve made a lot of friends, I enjoy my school, I’m very happy here but I’m very scared to go back to Nigeria,” she said.

“There’s a lot of violence and stuff going on, and my family will not be safe there.”

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