Mildred Okpara & Family
Mildred Okpara fled Nigeria in 2005 with her two children, then aged three years and 5 months. While still a teenager she ran away from her home village to Akwa, the nearest city, because she refused to be subjected to the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation. In the town she met her partner who she lived with until he was abducted by the Nigerian separatist group, MASSOB (the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra). After her partner’s abduction threats were made to Mildred and her two children resulting in injuries to her baby son – he is still receiving treatment for these injuries.
Fearing for the safety of her children she left Nigeria with the help of her partner’s friend and managed to get to the UK. Mildred and her children have been living in the Burngreave neighbourhood of Sheffield since December 2005. She is very active in the community and is a volunteer with the local Citizens Advice Bureau and Sheffield Live! 93.2fm, a local radio station. She has also received an award from the City of Sanctuary for her contribution to the community. Her children, now 6 and 4, are doing very well at school where they are very popular and have many friends. In May 2009 Mildred gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter who she wants to bring up in this country.
Mildred is estranged from her family and is terrified that she and her children will be targeted by MASSOB if she is forced to return to Nigeria. Her elder children have spent most of their lives in the UK and disrupting their lives here and their education would cause them great distress.
There is a petition for Mildred available to download and print:
Official campaign website:
On the 25th October a rally outside Sheffield Town Hall was held for Mildred and her family. Children from the primary school attended by the Okpara children created a canvas of hand prints with messages of support, and speeches were given by local councillors, campaigners and friends of Mildred. The photos below and above are from the rally.