A Nigerian professor, Edwin Okey Chikata Ijeoma, who previously renounced his Nigerian citizenship, has been expelled from South Africa over bigamous marriage.
Ijeoma, a professor of public sector economics at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) in the Eastern Cape had his citizenship revoked by the Ministry of Home Affairs after he fraudulently relied on a bigamous marriage to a South African woman to obtain naturalisation and citizenship.
Prof. Ijeoma arrived in South Africa from Nigeria on a study permit in 1998 to pursue academic studies at the University of Pretoria. He obtained a PhD in economics in 2003.
According to DispatchLIVE, Ijeoma took home affairs on review to the Bhisho high court, but in a 2020 judgment the court held the minister had not erred in finding Ijeoma had made false representations about his marital status to the department or in determining his SA citizenship was null and void.
Acting judge Mickey Mfenyana has denied Ijeoma leave to appeal her ruling, stating another court will not differ from her finding that he was disingenuous, if not dishonest, and that there was no reason to interfere with the minister’s decision.
The confirmation of the home affairs action rendering him an undesirable inhabitant of the country means Ijeoma, who previously renounced his Nigerian citizenship, has nowhere else to go.
Ijeoma was granted permanent residence in SA in the same year he graduated from Tukkies, having been exempted from immigration restrictions due to his marriage to a local woman two years earlier.
In 2005 he was granted SA citizenship through naturalisation but by 2007 he had divorced his South African wife, ostensibly because the couple was unable to conceive a child.
He was then joined in SA by a Nigerian woman, Anne Tomo. Home affairs officials were tipped off that Ijeoma had committed bigamy by marrying the SA woman after Tomo in her application for permanent residence, attached a copy of her 1993 marriage to him in Nigeria.
Officials said Ijeoma’s sole mission in marrying the SA woman was to acquire citizenship.