A 23-year-old Nigerian asylum seeker in the UK makes a suicide attempt.


A 23-year-old Nigerian asylum seeker recently made a suicide attempt in the United Kingdom, according to The UK Guardian’s report on Sunday, October 29, 2023. This attempt occurred after the individual received news that he was scheduled to be relocated to the Bibby Stockholm barge.

The Bibby Stockholm is an engineless barge located in the port of Portland, Dorset, used for accommodation purposes. Its history includes serving as shelter for the homeless in Hamburg, Germany, from 1994 to 1998, and as a detention facility for asylum seekers in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 2005. In 2023, the UK government announced plans to utilize the barge as housing for asylum seekers.

As per the report, the Nigerian national was airlifted to the hospital and placed on life support on Thursday, October 26, 2023, just two days after being informed of the impending transfer. The charity Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrant Action (Rama) stated that the man returned to his hotel, which the Home Office uses to accommodate asylum seekers, at around 6 p.m. Upon seeing his hotel room number listed on a whiteboard in the hotel reception as part of those being transferred to the barge on Tuesday, October 31, the man attempted to take his own life. Another asylum seeker, who heard the distressed individual, found him in critical condition.

The injured man was transported by air ambulance to Colchester General Hospital, where he remains in serious condition.

In August, asylum seekers placed on the Bibby Stockholm reported that conditions on board had driven one person to attempt suicide before everyone was evacuated due to the discovery of Legionella bacteria. A small group of asylum seekers returned to the barge on October 19, amidst protests by local campaigners and Just Stop Oil.

The Nigerian individual arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child and lived in foster care until reaching the age of 18. Rama is providing support to him and others in the hotel and at various accommodation sites in Essex.

The Guardian has verified two additional recent asylum seeker deaths in hotels, both believed to be suicides.

According to Rama, there are eight asylum seekers at the hotel scheduled to board the barge on Tuesday.

Maria Wilby, the operational lead at Rama, commented, “There are 114 asylum seekers at the hotel, and a very high number of them have self-harm wounds. Ten of them have been on a hunger strike due to the poor quality of food. People are losing significant amounts of weight.”

Nicola David, of One Life To Live, an organization campaigning against inappropriate accommodation for asylum seekers, and which has raised concerns about the Bibby Stockholm, stated, “This is a horrific incident – a tragedy that was entirely preventable. Is there any part of the ‘stop the boats’ drive that’s working? Perhaps only the fact that the Bibby Stockholm is, indeed, proving to be a deterrent. But instead of preventing people from making the Channel crossing, asylum seekers already here are choosing to kill themselves rather than be sent to the barge. It’s certainly a deterrent – a deeply, deeply cruel and shameful one.”

A Home Office spokesperson responded, saying, “The health and welfare of asylum seekers remains the utmost priority. We work continually to ensure the needs and vulnerabilities of those residing in asylum accommodation are identified and considered, including those related to mental health and trauma. Residents are provided with ample support to understand any changes in accommodation, including access to staff and mental health support.”

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