Nigerian, 30, stripped of children and work after wife reported they are splitting in Malta.

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Paul J. Jibiri
Paul J. Jibiri; Now in detention because wife left him taking away his children

Human Right activists in Malta are appealing to immigration authority to grant  a Nigerian parole so that he would live in the country to raise his two children.

The  young Nigerian arrived in Malta five years ago to pursue computer studies.

Harsh immigration law however has committed Paul James Jibiri into a detention centre after the Maltese woman he married left their matrimonial home and reported him to the Citizenship and Expatriate Department. He is now languishing in Safi detention center in Malta.

Computer graduate  Paul James Jibiri, 30, entered Malta legally, studied computing, found a good job and subsequently fell in love.

Three years ago he married a single mother. The couple have since had two other children – a boy, 3, and a one-year-old girl. But Maltese law could soon bar his children from seeing their father due to the break down of the marriage.

Maltese legal practitioners are however sympathetic with Paul as the law experts continue to criticize the legal system which refuses to accommodate outsiders even despite blood commitment as Mr Jibiri has been blessed with two malta children.

Mr Jibiri came to Malta, after he obtained a study visa, and was given a work permit. He had been gainfully employed until the recent marriage split.

As soon as his wife reported they were no longer living together he was immediately issued with a immigration removal order – losing his right to stay in the country or to work.

MrJibiri’s case has been taken up by two lawyers, former Nationalist Party president Victor Scerri and Therese Comodini Cachia, who contend the authorities failed to look into the case carefully enough before stamping the removal order and placing him in a detention centre where he has no access to his children.

His wife is now alleging that her husband was abusive but the police have yet to take action on her claims, despite Dr Scerri’s insistence to investigate.

According to his lawyers, the authorities acted upon the word of his wife, who left home of her own will and later reported him to the Citizenship and Expatriate Department.

Dr Comodini Cachia, who specialises in human rights cases, said the action violated the man’s right to family life and his children’s right to see their father. It also means he cannot have fair separation or annulment proceedings since they will go on without him while he is in detention or deported back to his country.

“Are we trying to create a fatherless society? Why should his children lose their father just because their mother left him,” she asked.

She pointed out that such strict laws were intended to discourage marriages of convenience, but there were many other ways of doing this, such as through regular interviews and inspections.

Dr Scerri added: “What we have in cases like this is fast-track separation. If a Maltese is married to a Maltese, they have to go through lengthy separation or annulment proceedings. But if you marry someone from outside the EU, apparently all you have to do is leave your matrimonial home and report your partner. Because as soon as you do this, they are in the country illegally and can be deported.”

This is the third such case Dr Scerri is dealing with.

In one case, a woman, now 60, married three different foreign men and left them, alleging abuse, before any of them got citizenship. She left one of her former husbands after four years and nine months. Citizenship is given to foreigners after five years of marriage.

Dr Scerri told The SundayTimes that through “husband importation” she has earned a big house, an expensive sports car and lots of other items.

She also managed to remarry three times in a country that prohibits divorce – and she is in a fourth relationship with a Nigerian man she arranged to bring to Malta.

Dr Scerri, who described Mr Jibiri as an exemplary worker and father, has appealed to the Prime Minister, the various ministries involved, the Police Commissioner, the Children’s Commissioner, UNHCR, the European Commission andA?enzija Appo?? for action to be taken.

In a letter addressed to all these institutions he questioned whether laws needed to be amended to protect the rights and dignity of people like Mr Jibiri, or whether institutions were abusing certain laws to decide on certain civil or family matters that should be decided by the courts.

“It is very convenient to find someone prepared to rid you of husband when you lose interest in him,” he said, adding that at the stroke of a pen, Mr Jibiri was in a detention centre instead of the family home he had built.

Mr Jibiri, who has been in detention for three weeks, also has a brother who works as a nurse in Malta and is appealing for his release.

When contacted, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the ministry could not comment until Tuesday – after Mr Jibiri’s appeal has been heard.

Source: The Sunday Times, Malta.