AN ACADEMIC who fought for eight years to be able to live in the UK has finally won his battle.

Nigerian Luqman Onikosi, who lives in Brighton, was granted permission to stay after appealing against the Home Office’s decision to deport him.

The 39-year-old was diagnosed with hepatitis B in 2009 while studying at the University in Sussex and needs life-saving treatment which is not available in Nigeria.

The disease had claimed the lives of his brothers Hanuna and Kolade,

Luqman feared for his life when the Home Office announced it would deport him in 2011.

But in August he celebrated on the steps of Taylor House Hearing Centre in London after the judge granted his appeal.

“It was more than relief,” he said.

“Now I don’t have to look over my shoulders or fear being detained every time I go to the Home Office.

“To have the cause of my worries gone is a godsend.

“ It was a good outcome, the best I could ever hope for.”

August 28 was an emotional day for the Free University lecturer as he made his way to London.

But more than 30 friends had gone with him to support him in court.

“I was an emotional wreck beforehand,” Luqman said.

“But it was really encouraging to see people who I had worked with and made friends me come out and support me.

“I want to thank the people of Brighton for being so welcoming to me.

“We had a lot of champagne afterwards, although I don’t drink.

“Then I just got home and slept it all off.”

Luqman is not completely safe from deportation yet as the Home Office could still appeal against the court’s decision.

But the Nigerian is full of hope for his future already.

“I’m applying to go back to university now,” he said.

“I’m hoping to do my PhD in humanities soon, looking into financial inequality.

“I came here to study, I love it here. I want to be an academic.”

In the meantime, Luqman lectures for nothing in Brighton and volunteers at the weekly Jollof Cafe in the Cowley Club.

“We all bring together our cultures and make lunch for anyone who comes,” he said.

Luqman’s friends were just as relieved as he was.

Jacob Berkson, who met Luqman at Sussex University, said he was inspired by how open he had been about his situation.

“He had to be brave to do that because being in that position can seem shameful,” Jacob said.

“But now it’s nice, we can send job adverts to him.”