A gay Nigerian asylum seeker who was living in Bradford has been deported from the UK.

Olamiekan Ayelokun had argued that he could not return to Nigeria because he was at risk of homophobic persecution.

He had been trying to stay in the UK ever since his visa expired in 2003.

Earlier this month, Mr Ayelokun spoke of his torment to the Independent from inside the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport and said: “I feel terrible, traumatised. I am very afraid they are going to kill me in Nigeria.”

According to the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Jason Feather, who helped set up a Facebook group and an online petition to stop his deportation, said: “I’m devastated. They have decided to send a gay man back to one of the most homophobic countries in the world. It’s like putting a lamb in with the lions.”

The maximum punishment for same-sex sexual activity in Nigeria is 14 years’ in jail; in regions under Sharia law this can include a sentence of death by stoning.

The UK Border Agency repeatedly refused to believe that the 28-year-old is indeed a gay man – despite testimony by Mr Ayelokun’s previous sexual partners throughout his asylum case.

A spokesperson said: “At no point has he been able to provide sufficient evidence of his sexuality and our decision not to grant him asylum has been upheld by an independent immigration judge.”

It is understood that Mr Ayelokun is now living with his family in Nigeria.