Nigerian lesbian granted asylum after 13-year battle against deportation

A Nigerian lesbian locked in a long-running dispute over her right to stay in Britain has been granted asylum by the Home Office.

Aderonke Apata, 50, has argued for some 13 years her sexuality means she could be killed if deported back to her home country - but was accused of trying to "hoodwink the system".

Activist Ms Apata, who recently won an Attitude magazine pride award for her LGBT work, said she had waited years for this moment.

She told the Press Association: "I'm relieved, glad because 13 active years of my life have been taken from me and wasted.

"The treatment for people coming to claim asylum here is horrible. I have been accused of lying about my sexuality... it's a difficult area of your life to disclose."

Ms Apata said her current asylum permit lasts for only five years - and then she can apply for permanent residence.

The activist runs the African Rainbow Family, a non-profit which gives others fleeing persecution advice on their rights.

She urged supporters to remember the thousands of gay people facing oppression and violence, adding the UK has a duty to "give them safety and sanctuary".

Ms Apata said her work will continue focusing on altering the asylum process and "changing attitudes" in countries with harsh laws against homosexuality.

In 2015, she was accused of seeking to "hoodwink the system" to stay in the UK by a barrister acting on behalf on then Home Secretary Theresa May.

A Home Office spokesman said they remained committed to improving the asylum process for people claiming on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.