A Nigerian drug dealer who was caught with nearly £500,000 in cocaine will not be deported because of EU rules. Cletus Okpala, 29, was jailed for 52 months in 2012 and was told he would be forced to the leave the UK when he was released.
However, EU rules mean he will now be allowed to stay, despite the severity of his crime. The Home Office has told the Daily Express that Mr Okpala is married to a Latvian national and therefore has the right to remain in the UK whatever crime he commits.
The Home Office had originally fought for his deportation and now claims to be “disappointed” that he will be allowed to stay. The rules allowing him to stay have also angered the group TaxpayerScotland.
Their director Eben Wilson, told the Express: “Not enough is being done to safeguard the public from criminals and violent offenders, who are being handed huge sums of taxpayers’ cash to fight deportation on spurious technicalities.
“It is no excuse for politicians to say their hands are tied by the Human Rights Act and European legislation.”
Okpala was caught transporting one and half kilograms of cocaine, with a reported street value of £482,000. It is not unusual for foreign drug dealers to appeal to stay in the UK after their release, but they often try to use the Human Rights Act. On this occasion, as the spouse of a Latvian, he is automatically entitled to stay unless the marriage itself was shown to be fraudulent.
Okpala said: “Scotland is my home and I have been told I am free to stay here now. The Home Office has not appealed the decision to allow me to stay, so I have won.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We firmly believe that foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK should be deported.”
Mr Okpala lives with his wife Olga Manusina and three-year-old son in Edinburgh.