Home Office urged to allow cancer sufferer's brother into UK for stem cell op


The Home Office is bring urged to allow the brother of a man stricken with cancer to visit the UK for a bone-marrow transplant.

Leukaemia sufferer Isaac Aganozor, 44, needs an urgent stem cell transplant from his Nigeria-based brother Patrick who has been refused a visa to enter the UK on economic grounds.

Mr Aganozor's employer at Dulwich College, south London, where he works as a caretaker, has offered to pay for his brother's vital month-long trip to the UK.

They say they are "very concerned" about the refusal while local MP Helen Hayes has branded it as "extremely disappointing" adding that it is "appalling that they are showing so little flexibility".

Mr Aganozor, of Sydenham Hill, south east London, has been told his prognosis is very poor without the transplant.

He needs a stem cell harvest collection involving injections and scraping. Mr Aganozor became ill in December 2015 and is being treated at London's St Bartholomew's Hospital.

Mr Aganozor has been considered a valued member of staff since starting work at Dulwich College in 2015.

He is described as "conscientious, very committed and friendly to colleagues and the boys in the boarding community".

Dulwich College said they will support Mr Aganozor and his brother, who lives with his family in Lagos, Nigeria, by paying for his return airfare and sponsoring him while he is in the UK. He has been offered accommodation during his stay.

A Dulwich College spokesman said: "We were very concerned to hear Patrick's application had been refused. We want to do what we can to help Isaac.

"Isaac is a kind and caring man and we are anxious for him to be able to receive his much needed transplant from his brother as a matter of urgency."

Ms Hayes, the Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, has made contact with Immigration minister James Brokenshire but there has been no success in turning around the ruling.

Mr Aganozor's brother is re-applying for a visa. He lives with his daughter and ailing mother and "fully intends" to return to Nigeria, a college spokesman said.

Ms Hayes said: "The Home Office's refusal to acknowledge the urgent need for Patrick Aganozor to travel to the UK in order to act as a bone marrow donor for his brother Isaac is extremely disappointing.

"It is appalling that they are showing so little flexibility in requiring a new visa application to be made in a situation where time is of the essence and Isaac's employer has offered to sponsor Patrick's short trip to the UK.

"I am working hard on behalf of the Aganozors, and very much hope that the Home Office considers the new application as a matter of urgency so that Patrick can travel before Isaac's health deteriorates still further. I hope that they will show compassion and allow Patrick to travel to the UK to help his brother. "

The Evening Standard reported that a rejection letter from the British High Commission in Lagos read: "You have stated your brother has acute myeloid leukaemia and you are to be a stem cell donor. I must take into account your personal socio-economic circumstances in Nigeria when reaching my decision. I note that you are a tricycle driver earning £69 a month in Nigeria but you state you have £1,500 for this trip.

"Given your limited economic circumstances in Nigeria I am not satisfied that these provide you with an incentive to leave the UK at the end of your stay as claimed."

Mr Aganozor, who has been off sick from work since December, said there is no danger that his brother will try to stay in the UK after the transplant.

The Home Office spokesman said all cases are carefully considered on their individual merits and the onus is on the individual to provide the necessary supporting evidence to meet UK immigration rules.

The spokesman added it is sensitive to cases with compassionate circumstances but all visa applications must be assessed against the immigration rules. He noted that the applicant is free to submit a new application with supporting evidence.