ICC Note: Eze Okafor, a refugee from Nigeria who sought asylum in Iceland after persecution at the hands of Boko Haram is now facing deportation back to Nigeria. Eze, who is a Christian man, and his brother were attacked by Boko Haram after refusing to join their forces; his brother was killed but Eze escaped alive and fled the country. He has built a life for himself in Iceland, staying there on humanitarian grounds, but is now struggling against the Icelandic police and government to remain there and not be sent back to Nigeria. Boko Haram has plagued northeastern Nigeria since 2009, raping, kidnapping, and murdering thousands, targeting Christians as part of their jihadist mission.
06/24/2016, Nigeria (Vanguard) – As Eze sat in the pew at a church where he goes most mornings to pray, his phone buzzed with a new message. His Icelandic teacher was checking in on him, giving him support.
A calm and composed man, Eze began to cry, the emotion intensifying as he continued to read. His friends in Iceland were standing with him, the message said, they would fight for him.
Eze Okafor, 32, had been living in Iceland for the last four years, working as a cook in a local restaurant, learning the Icelandic language, building a community.
“Iceland is my home now. I have contributed to the society here. Many people know me. My friends have become my family,” he told Al Jazeera.
Eze fled Nigera after being targeted by Boko Haram. In 2010, he and his younger brother, Okwy, were attacked in retaliation for not joining the armed group. “They tried to recruit me, but I refused.” Members of Boko Haram stormed their house in Maiduguri, Borno State, in northeastern Nigeria. Eze was stabbed in the head and face. Okwy was killed.