IRELAND/NIGERIA: Deportation Case Mother Had Fake Baby Death Papers, Inquiry Told
A NIGERIAN woman who is facing deportation used forged documentation to back up claims that her first child died after being subjected to female genital mutilation, a garda investigation has been told.
Inquiries by the garda national immigration unit in Nigeria have uncovered apparent discrepancies in the case presented by Pamela Izevbekhai to the High Court and Supreme Court in Dublin and to the European Court of Human Rights.
A Nigerian obstetrician has dismissed a document, allegedly signed by him, as a forgery. He also rejected Mrs Izevbekhai's claim that she gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, in February 1993 and that the girl died on July 16, 1994, following female genital mutilation.
The findings represent a potentially serious blow to the prospects of Mrs Izevbekhai overturning a Supreme Court decision supporting her deportation in her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
In an affidavit lodged with the European Court in Strasbourg, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Joseph Unokanjo, who practises at Isioma Hospital, in Lagos, says he can confirm that no baby called Elizabeth Izevbekhai was delivered by him at the hospital and no baby of that name has ever been treated by him for any ailment, including post-circumcision complications. Gar- dai were also told there is no evidence of Elizabeth's death at the registry of deaths in Lagos, although a death certificate was presented to the Irish courts on behalf of Mrs Izevbekhai.
Dr Unokanjo says he did not sign an affidavit purported to have been sworn by him on March 9, 2006, and did not issue a certificate of cause of death, which purported to come from Isioma hospital on July 17, 1994. Confirming the signatures are not his, he also says he is incorrectly described on that affidavit as a surgeon, and that the hospital stamp and hospital address are false. He emphasises the purported affidavit was not made by him and says he believes it is a forgery.
Dr Unokanjo has practised at Isioma hospital since 1992, when it was founded, and is a medical director there.
He says Pamela Izevbekhai was his patient before she married and at the time was known as Enitan West, and after her marriage as Enitan Izevbekhai.
Dr Unokanjo also says Mrs Izevbekhai had her first baby at Isioma Hospital in 2000. He was her attending doctor and he could confirm that it was her first child.
He recalled that Pamela Enitan Izevbekhai telephoned him some years ago requesting him to issue a death certificate in respect of a dead child to enable her to be given asylum in the Republic of Ireland. He told her he did not involve himself in such activities, particularly since he was aware that she neither had a baby before 1999, and nor had she lost a baby.
Dr Unokanjo also states the alleged medical certificate of the 'cause of death' is a forgery.
Paul McHenry, third secretary at the Irish Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, describes how he had been shown that the registry of deaths in the Surulere district in Lagos for 1994 showed only 55 entries but the certificate produced for Elizabeth Izevbekhai was entered as number 56.
AUTHOR: Tom Brady
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