Parishioners in Streatham have thrown their weight behind a campaign to save a popular minister and his family from deportation.

Thousands have signed a petition to stop the Omoregie family from being ordered out of Britain.

Any day now, Home Secretary Jack Straw could deliver a crushing blow to the family's campaign to stay in the country.

Mr Frank Omoregie fears for his life if he is deported to Nigeria as he says his brother and father were murdered there in 1989 and he himself had been targeted by a satanic cult.

But the minister of Christ Gospel Church, South Lambeth Road, has overwhelming support where he lives and works.

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition and MP Kate Hoey has given her backing, as has the union, Unison, of which Doris Omoregie is a member.

The Omoregie boys, Benjamin, seven, and Christopher, five, were born in England and are settled in schools here and Mrs Omoregie has just had another baby.

Mr Omoregie said: "The boys are very aware of what's going on. They keep asking 'Where are they taking us?'

"The boys have never been to Africa and are very worried about leaving their friends."

Despite facing refusal in an early appeal and being turned down for judicial review, Mr Omoregie still remains hopeful that the government will look on them compassionately.

He said: "My wife is unwell and is still nursing a new-born and we have established roots here."

Alma Haq, equalities officer with Unison, said: "Both Frank and Doris Omoregie contribute a lot to the community. They are not a drain on society and are both involved in valuable work.

"Doris works in home care in Kensington and Chelsea; Frank is active in the church.

A Home Office spokesman said a decision could be made any time in the next few days or weeks, but would not comment.

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