African Immigrants Struggle To Pay Bills In UK As inflation Soars – Report
A new report has revealed that African immigrants in the United Kingdom are struggling to pay bills as they are most affected by the persistent rising cost of living crisis.
The report published on Wednesday by an African communications service community disclosed that many African residents in the UK suffer to afford basic needs such as food, housing and energy.
This has forced the African Diasporan community to seek financial support as the report said inflation upsets the economy.
With over 1,000 Africans surveyed, Robert Ekat, Lead Researcher, at BHM said, “The findings reveal the stark reality of the financial struggles faced by this community, with job security and monthly bills being the top concerns”.
“This report is critical as it highlights the impact of the cost of living crisis on African immigrants. It is a deliberately qualitative report with factual data to help us comprehend the practical impact of rising costs on individuals and communities,” adds BHM Founder, Ayeni Adekunle.
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“It ultimately adds to the existing body of research on the impact of the cost of living crisis on different communities in the UK and we are enthusiastic that researchers, policymakers, and organisations will find the data useful in developing future policies and actions for the betterment of the African community.”
The report further said, “Almost 60% of those surveyed have turned to family for financial support in recent times, while 44.5% admit to borrowing to pay for everyday needs. As the crisis bites deeper, several participants say they have had to cut down on essentials to survive.”
According to the report, at least 28% of respondents in the African expatriate community say they struggle to afford gas monthly, 69.4% plan to reduce the use of power, and 47% of participants have had to miss meals so they could pay bills.
The emigration of Africans to the UK has seen an enormous rise over the past year. According to the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, net migration was unusually high in 2022 as rises in temporary work and study migration post-pandemic have contributed to the surge.
Despite significant contributions to the UK economy, the report showed that 84% of the respondents in the African immigrant community do not claim any form of financial support from the UK government. This is a clear contrast compared to other groups like citizens of the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the UK who have access to benefits like Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to name a few.
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About 48% of respondents revealed they feel worse off than they were a year ago. The African community’s experiences revolve around critical challenges and concerns including lack of job security, unaffordable housing, and mounting debt.
Since the start of the pandemic, at least 25% of respondents have had to opt out of their workplace pension, risking retirement security. The grim situation has necessitated an urgent need for attention, which has informed BHM UK’s research.
Back home in their native countries, many African diasporans are pressured by the black tax.
According to the report, Aishat, a 36-year-old store manager, said, “I am worried that after a while, I won’t be able to send money back home to my family and take care of my most mundane needs.”
Over 77% of participants in the report revealed family and friends expect some support, thereby intensifying the desperation for survival. This was reflected in the admittance by almost 59% of respondents that the current economic situation in the UK is affecting their mental and physical health.
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Enitan Kehinde, General Manager, BHM UK, said, “We are delighted to inform public discourse and help raise awareness about the economic and psychological issues facing Africans in the UK. This is necessary for us to demonstrate increased understanding, empathy and support for these individuals and communities and to inspire practicable solutions.”
With many Africans seeking to migrate to the UK in the coming months, BHM UK’s report on the cost of living crisis critically expounds on the experiences of African expatriates and the interventions to embark upon, especially by government and organisations targeted at the African community.
It’s important for the UK to provide some support to Africans. “Apart from school fees paid by immigrants to British schools, the UK gains from Visa Fees, NHS payments, Rent, Economic productivity, Income taxes, etc.,” a report by SBM Intelligence, an Africa-focused geopolitical research and strategic communications firm states.
Tribunal Admits U.S. Court Judgment Ordering Tinubu’s Forfeiture Of $460,000
The Labour Party on Tuesday called its first witness in the ongoing petition between its candidate, Peter Obi, and the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President, Bola Tinubu.
Counsel for the LP and Obi, Jibrin Okutepa, stated that documents from number one to four together with receipts tendered are documents where the vice president, Kashim Shettima, accepted his nomination as the vice-presidential candidate of the APC.
The witness, Lawrence Nwakaeti, who is a legal practitioner, disclosed that he was deposed to the witness statement on March 20, 2023.
Part of the documents deposed to by Nwakaeti referred to the alleged $460,000 forfeiture by Tinubu to the government of the United States.
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One of the grounds on which the LP and Obi are praying for the court to nullify Tinubu’s victory is that the president, Tinubu “at the time of the election was not qualified to contest for election to the office of President as he was fined the sum of $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483.”
While answering questions during the cross-examination, the witness admitted that the judgment was not registered in Nigeria.
He also admitted that there was no certificate from any consular in Nigeria or America in support of the judgment.
He, however, maintained that “the judgment speaks for itself.”
APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, asked, “As a lawyer, you are aware that these documents are not registered in Nigeria and there is no certificate attached to the document from the US?” to which Lawrence replied that there are certificates.
“Is there a certificate from the US consular?”
“No certificate from the consular,” Nwakaeti replied.
He also said he had no knowledge of a February 4, 2003, Formal Clearance Report by Legal Attachee from the American Embassy in respect of the alleged indictment and forfeiture.
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When asked by Fagbemi, SAN, to produce a copy of the charges against Tinubu, the witness said he had none but maintained that the forfeiture are from civil proceedings.
“You are aware that all the proceedings were civil proceedings?”
“Civil forfeiture proceedings,” the witness replied.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani has shifted further hearing in the petition till May 31.
Otti Freezes Abia Accounts, Sacks Boards Executives
Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, has directed the immediate freezing of all accounts of the state government and those of its agencies domiciled in every bank and financial institution across the state and around the federation.
He has also dissolved all boards of Abia State government agencies and parastatals and ordered the heads of all the dissolved agencies and parastatals to subsequently hand over to those next in line to them.
The governor gave the orders in a statement he issued through his media office on Monday, which was signed by Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.
The directive read in part, “With this notice, all banks and other financial institutions in the country are directed to immediately seize from honouring any cheque, document, instrument or directive of any kind not expressly approved by or emanating from him.
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“Similarly, Governor Otti has directed the immediate dissolution of all boards of the Abia State Government agencies and parastatals and subsequently ordered the chief executives of these organisations to hand over to those next in line to them”.
The reporter gathered that the news of the sack of the former chief executives of the dissolved boards sparked celebration among staff of such agencies, especially those who were owed some months of salary arrears.
PICTORIAL: Obi, Datti, Keyamo Present As Tribunal Resumes Hearing
The presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, are currently in attendance at the ongoing presidential election tribunal PUNCH reports.
Former minister of state for labour and employment, Festus Keyamo, is also present at the tribunal and appearing as a counsel in the legal team of President Bola Tinubu.
Obi and the Labour Party filed a petition challenging the victory of Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, in the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.
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In the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, Livy Ozoukwu, lead counsel to LP and Obi, said Tinubu “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election”.
Among other allegations, they claimed that Kashim Shettima, vice-president, had a double nomination in contravention of the electoral act.
A proper hearing of the petition commenced on Tuesday and the first witness has been called.
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