Wigan woman who hasn't seen her Nigerian husband for five years launches reunion fund-raiser

A Wigan woman who has only seen her husband a handful of times in the six years since she married him is fund-raising in a bid for them to be reunited.

Sarah Sholagbade, 35, from Standish married Yemi, 39, in 2016 after meeting online but due to a visa error they have been forced to live in different countries since 2017.

Romance bloomed after Sarah created an online video about stopping racism, Yemi commented and they began to chat video calls.

The pair eventually became a couple, with Sarah flying out to Lagos, Nigeria, for their wedding ceremony in 2016.

Sarah and her husband Yemi tying the knot.

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Sarah returned to Lagos a futher three times to visit Yemi after tying the knot with the intention that he would come to visit Englan and so they began the application process.

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Unfortunately an error on Sarah’s part resulted in the request being denied, meaning Yemi was not granted access to the UK.

When asked if he had previously applied for access to the UK, Sarah answered “no” when the correct answer was actually “yes”.

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Sarah and Yemi have been together all too infrequently over the last five years

Due to its being a simple error, the couple believed it could be rectified even if it needed the help of solicitors.

But so far there has been nothing but frustration and more than £5,000 has already been run up on legal fees.

Sarah said: “Every day I wake up crying. I just want to be with Yemi.

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"It’s not easy with the cost of living crisis going on to go out and visit him either.”

Even with the help of solicitors there was no success in getting the decision overturned, meaning that unless circumstances changed the wait would be 10 years before Yemi could reapply.

As a result it appears that Sarah will have to travel to Nigeria to be reunited with her partner, this would cost upwards of £1,000.

A combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and now the cost of living crisis has made it difficult for this to happen.

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Due to this Sarah has recently set up a justgiving page in hope of being able to raise enough money to be reunited with Yemi once more.

Her goal on the page is £2,000 to cover the costs of not only a flight but also additional fees that may go towards solicitors to appeal once again.

Sarah is planning to do sponsored walks in order to build up her funds to see Yemi.

Sarah said: “After five long years apart, I’d want to go to Nigeria for as long as possible.”

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A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

"All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the immigration rules."

Sarah had at first hidden the wedding from her family until she came back to England after the ceremony. She says that they were shocked at first but have now come to accept the relationship.

The last time she saw Yemi face-to-face was at a barbecue in Lagos attended by many of his family members.