A STUDENT facing deportation he says would amount to a "death sentence" has spoken of his gratitude to supporters of his campaign to stay in the UK.

Around 150 people have donated towards a legal fund to challenge the Home Office's decision to deport seriously unwell Luqman Onikosi.

The 36-year-old first came to the U.K. from his native Nigeria in 2007 to study at the University of Sussex and developed chronic liver disease brought on by Hepatitis B.

His two brothers have both died of complications from the same condition in Nigeria and he says sending him back to the country would be barbaric because it does not have the necessary medical treatment available for his condition.

Speaking to The Argus yesterday as he continues to fight his deportation on medical grounds, Mr Onikosi said: "It is inevitably a death sentence. Even the monitoring itself that I need to show the deterioration stages of my liver is not available in Nigeria."

A campaign launched to help pay his legal expenses has raised nearly 4,000 dollars in fewer than ten days, while Mr Onikisi is also being supported by his member of parliament, Caroline Lucas.

He said: "To the people who have supported me, I would say without them I don't think I would have survived this long.

"The Home Office made me feel like I am not in charge of my own life and it is so powerful.

"For people to have come around me and given me so much support, it really gives me so much hope and the feeling I am not alone."

Mr Onikosi, who lives in Brighton, added: "Invariably Britain benefits from recruiting students from Commonwealth countries.

"But these countries are thought of in terms of their economies, not the human factor."

As a student he campaigned on issues including racism and economic rights, and says he hopes to continue contributing to the country were he allowed to stay.

The Home Office said Mr Onikosi's application had been fully considered and "an independent immigration judge found he has no right to remain in the UK."