The fate of a 32-year-old lesbian from Nigeria ( pictured ) who has applied for refugee protection in Canada rests in the hands of an appointed adjudicator, Winnipeg Free Press reports.
The woman, who asked to be identified only as U.O., has been in Winnipeg for three months, arriving there for a conference and abandoning her plans to return to Nigeria after finding out her girlfriend was jailed and police were looking for her.
She went before the refugee protection division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, yesterday, to plead her case. Her family in Nigeria has turned its back on her because of her sexuality, she said.
"Nobody there wants me. They want me dead," she said, saying she'll be lynched if she returns to her family. "So, I don't think they deserve me," she added, saying she would be happy to start a new life in Canada "and find a new love."
Her journey toward refugee protection began in May, when U.O., who was an outreach worker at a NGO in Nigeria, attended an HIV/AIDS conference in Winnipeg.
That's when she found out her girlfriend -- her first love from university whom she'd been seeing in secret -- had been arrested and forced to confess their relationship, and that her husband had outed U.O. to her employer.
She was crying in a washroom during the conference when another woman approached and advised her she likely had a legitimate refugee claim. The adjudicator decided she needed more time to hear U.O.'s case. The hearing is set to continue Aug. 22.