Fear of sanctions due to human trafficking or because of being gay are the most common reasons for applying for protection.
UNE rarely reverses the UDI's decisions. In many cases, appeals are rejected because we do not believe the applicant's statements. In other cases, applicants can obtain protection in other parts of Nigeria than the area they come from.
Around half of the men who apply for protection in Norway state that they fear persecution because they are gay. They fear both the authorities and their own social network. Homosexuality is prohibited in Nigeria. Gay people are also subjected to strong social condemnation. In these cases, credibility is the decisive factor. In many cases, we do not believe these statements because they do not seem to concern a personal experience.
The majority of the women state that they are victims of human trafficking. They fear that the traffickers will subject them to violence when they return to Nigeria, because they still owe them money for the trip. In these cases, we often believe that it will be safe to stay in another area of Nigeria than the area the person in question came from. Traffickers rarely persecute women who return to another city. Victims of human trafficking can also get help from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP, external link), which has offices in several major cities.
Some applicants explain that they are in a conflict with their family or local authority figures. The reason can be a disagreement regarding property, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy or criminal acts.
Others explain that they are fleeing local conflicts, for example due to the presence of Boko Haram in the north-east, splinter groups in Biafra, or conflicts regarding oil recovery in the Niger Delta.
We reject many cases because we do not believe the applicant's statement. In the cases where we do believe the statement, the applicant can normally be ensured protection in other parts of Nigeria than the area where he/she comes from. This is called internal flight.
Nigerian documents are not very reliable, but we nevertheless want applicants to submit any ID documents they have. The importance attached to the documents submitted varies from case to case. It is common in Nigeria to have a national ID card. Due to widespread corruption and document forgery, we do not give weight to the information in such documents. The same applies to most other Nigerian documents.
The authorities issue biometric passports. Nigerians in Norway can apply for a passport via the Embassy of Nigeria in Stockholm. We believe that people who hold passports are probably Nigerian citizens, but it is uncertain whether the information in the passport is correct. Therefore, we cannot conclude that the identity has been substantiated even if the applicant has a passport.
We rarely grant protection in cases where the UDI has refused an application. Some are granted permits on humanitarian grounds. This is usually because of serious health problems or children's attachment to Norway.
We use many different sources. Much of the information we use has been collected by Landinfo, a unit that prepares reports on topics that are important to the UDI and UNE. Recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (external link) are also important. We also read reports from the European Asylum Support Office EASO) (external link), and keep up-to-date with reports in the media and from other organisations.
Many of the women from Nigeria state that they are victims of human trafficking. They are offered what is known as a period of reflection. This is a temporary residence permit that is valid for six months. The purpose of the permit is to help the women to break contact with the trafficking scene and to enable prosecution of the traffickers. If someone wants to apply for a reflection period, they must withdraw their application for protection, which will then be dropped. After the reflection period is over, the person in question can apply for a one-year, temporary residence permit. If the application for such a permit is rejected, the person in question can ask to have his/her asylum case resumed.