Reasons and Decision
Person(s) who is(are) the subject of the appeal:
XXXX XXXX XXXX
Appeal considered / heard at:
Date of decision:
May 17, 2018
Counsel for the person(s) who is(are) the subject of the appeal:
Counsel for the Minister:
Reasons for decision
 The Appellant, XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, appeals a decision of the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) denying her claim for refugee protection. The Appellant has submitted new evidence in support of this appeal and requests an oral hearing before the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD). The Appellant asks the
RAD to substitute a finding that she is a Convention refugee or person in need of protection. In the alternative, the Appellant asks the
RAD to refer the matter back to a different member of the
RPD for a redetermination.
 Pursuant to paragraph 111(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the
RAD confirms the decision of the
RPD that the Appellant is not a Convention refugee nor a person in need of protection. This appeal is dismissed.
 The Appellant alleges that she fears return to Nigeria due to forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She states that her father insists that she marry a much older man, XXXX XXXX, to whom she has been promised as a wife since birth by her father. The Appellant asserts that XXXX XXXX and her father wish for her to undergo FGM prior to the marriage. She states that she was taken for FGM against her will in Nigeria, but due to an injury she sustained in the struggle, the procedure was postponed. In the intervening time, the Appellant went into hiding with an aunt in Kastina state while her mother made arrangements for her to leave for Canada, given that she already had a valid student visa. The Appellant asserts a fear of her father, XXXX XXXX and the police if she were to return to Nigeria.
 The claim for refugee protection was heard on July 19, 2017. By a decision dated August 30, 2017, the
RPD found the Appellant was credible in the core allegations of her claim,Footnote 1 but not with respect to her testimony regarding the viability of the proposed Internal Flight Alternatives (IFAs). The
RPD rejected the claim on the finding that the Appellant has a viable
IFA in either Ibadan or Port Harcourt.
 On appeal to the
RAD, the Appellant submits that the
RPD erred in its credibility analysis underlying its finding that the Appellant has a viable
IFA to Ibadan or Port Harcourt, and therefore erred in finding her not to be a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection.Footnote 2 I am not persuaded that the
RPD erred. The
RPD correctly concluded that the Appellant has a viable
IFA in her country in either Ibadan or Port Harcourt, and after my own assessment of the evidence, I agree with this finding. This is the determinative issue in the claim.
 Given that the Appellant’s claim is centrally related to her gender, in deciding this appeal I have considered the Chairperson’s Guidelines on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution in assessing the evidence before me.Footnote 3
Admissibility of Evidence Submitted on Appeal
 Subsection 110(4) of the IRPA provides that the Appellant may present only evidence that arose after the rejection of the claim, or that was not reasonably available, or that the Appellant could not reasonably have been expected in the circumstances to have presented at the time of the rejection. This section establishes a disjunctive test. It is for the Appellant to make full and detailed submissions in the Memorandum about how any proposed new evidence meets the requirements of subsection 110(4) and how that evidence relates to the Appeal. If the factors in subsection 110(4) are not met, the
RAD does not have discretion to admit such evidence.
 If the submitted new evidence meets the requirements of subsection 110(4), the
RAD will consider the criteria as set out by the Federal Court of Appeal in Singh.Footnote 4 The Federal Court of Appeal held that, in addition to the clear language of the statute, the implicit conditions for the admissibility of new evidence include: credibility, relevance and newness.
 The Appellant has tendered one document as proposed new evidence in support of the present appeal, consisting of an undated electronic news article entitled “Police Tops List of Corrupt Public Officials.” The Appellant submits that this article is being submitted on appeal because it is credible and relevant,Footnote 5 but does not make any submissions on its newness.
 My findings in respect of newness are threefold. First, the article is undated on its face, therefore the Appellant has not established that the article post-dates the rejection of the claim, or that it was not reasonably available to her prior to the rejection of the claim. Second, in addition to being undated, the content of the article makes clear that the information contained therein relates to the results of a survey which shows that Nigerians “spent about N400bn in paying bribe[s] between June 2015 and June 2016.”Footnote 6 It is clear that the article relates to information from 2015-2016, which means the information pre-dates the rejection of the Appellant’s claim. Moreover, I note that this article does not provide content that is new in the sense that it was not already before the
RPD: it is a repetition of information about corruption in the Nigerian police which was already before the
RPD,Footnote 7 a fact which was explicitly considered and accepted in the Decision.Footnote 8 Therefore, the submitted article does not meet the requirements set out in subsection 110(4) and accordingly, it must be rejected.
 The Appellant has requested an oral hearing with respect to the new evidence adduced, pursuant to subsection 110(6) of the IRPA. When read together, subsections 110(3), (4) and (6) of the IRPA establish that the
RAD must not hold a hearing in an appeal such as this unless there is new evidence admitted in accordance with the provisions of subsection 110(4) which raises a serious issue with respect to the credibility of the Appellant, is central to the
RPD’s decision and that, if accepted, would justify allowing or rejecting the refugee protection claim. As I have found the article submitted by the Appellant is not admissible, pursuant to the IRPA, the
RAD must proceed without a hearing. The Appellant’s request for an oral hearing is denied.
Role of the
 For questions of fact, mixed fact and law, and law, the
RAD applies the standard of correctness, as per Huruglica.Footnote 9 In assessing issues involving credibility of oral testimony, the
RAD applies the
RAD modified standard of reasonableness, where the
RAD determines the
RPD had a meaningful advantage in assessing oral testimony.Footnote 10
Merits of the Appeal
IFA in Nigeria
 While I note that the determinative issue in the present Appeal is the finding that there exist viable
IFAs for the Appellant to Ibadan and Port Harcourt specifically, after reviewing the record I would further note that there are several additional cities in Nigeria where, depending on the individual facts, an
IFA would likely be available to those fleeing non-state actors, such as the Appellant.
 The test for assessing an
IFA is two-pronged and is set out in the Federal Court of Appeal decision in Rasaratnam.Footnote 11
(1) The Board must be satisfied on a balance of probabilities that there is no serious possibility of the claimant being persecuted in the part of the country to which it finds an
IFA exists and/or the claimant would not be personally subject to a risk to life or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture in the
(2) Moreover, the conditions in the part of the country considered to be an
IFA must be such that it would not be unreasonable in all the circumstances, including those particular to the claim, for him to seek refuge there.Footnote 12
 Both prongs must be satisfied to find that the Appellant has an
IFA. Once the issue of
IFA has been raised and the potential
IFAs have been identified, the burden of proof rests with the Appellant to show that she does not have an
IFA. The finding of an
IFA must be based on a distinct evaluation of the region for that purpose taking into account the Appellant’s personal circumstances. An
IFA must be a realistic and attainable option. An Appellant cannot be required to encounter great physical danger or undergo undue hardship in traveling there and staying there.
 IFA in Nigeria is often considered by the
RAD. After reviewing the relevant country documentation and jurisprudence, I note that internal relocation in Nigeria is generally considered to be viable for refugee claimants and appellants fearing non-state actors. Cognizant of the unique circumstances and challenges facing female claimants and appellants, I have focused on the situation for relocation within Nigeria for single women as that is the analysis directly applicable to this particular Appellant. However, in my view, the framework of analysis set out herein could apply more broadly to many types of claims from Nigeria where the stated fear is of non-state agents. For instance, the Federal Court has recently upheld determinative findings of viable
IFAs in Nigeria in cases where the alleged fear is related to allegations of witchcraft,Footnote 13 FGM (or the refusal to submit one’s child to FGM),Footnote 14 forced participation in rituals,Footnote 15 Boko Haram, threats of domestic violence at the hands of a former partner, Fulani herdsmen, and kidnappers,Footnote 16 to name a few.
 The UK Home Office Country Information and Guidance for Nigeria states that where the person’s fear is of persecution or serious harm at the hands of non-state agents, “relocation to another area of Nigeria is likely to be generally viable depending on the nature of the threat from non-state agents and individual circumstances of the person, and as long as it would not be unduly harsh to expect them to do so.”Footnote 17
 In addition, the UK Home Office Country Information and Guidance for women fearing gender-based harm or violence in Nigeria states, “In general, it will not be unduly harsh for a woman to internally relocate to escape localised threats from members of their family or other non-state actors, especially if single and without children to support, but the individual circumstances of each case will need to be taken into account.”Footnote 18
 As I demonstrate in my analysis below, the documentation indicates that there are several very large, multilingual, multiethnic cities in south and central Nigeria, such as Lagos (population 13.123 million); Kano (3.587 million); Ibadan (3.16 million); the capital of Abuja (2.44 million); Port Harcourt (2.343 million); and Benin City (1.496 million)Footnote 19 where persons fleeing non-state actors may be able to safely establish themselves, depending on their own particular circumstances. While it is trite to say that each appeal is dependent on the appellant’s arguments, the individual facts and the assessment of the appellant’s personal risk, I would note that from an objective perspective, grounded in the jurisprudence and country information available in the National Documentation Package (NDP), internal flight alternatives in these large cities are likely to be widely available to many whose stated fear is of non-state actors including, but not limited to, single women such as the Appellant.
 While an analysis of whether a particular appellant faces a serious possibility of persecution in the proposed
IFA under the first prong of the Rasaratnam test is necessarily fact-specific, I am aware that as a general principle, Canadian courts have held that large urban areas cannot be assumed to be an
IFA by virtue of their population size alone,Footnote 20 and that the distance between the proposed
IFA and the location of the persecutors does not in itself serve to establish that the proposed
IFA is viable.Footnote 21 That said, the
IFA need not be far away from where the appellant has previously lived: the concept of an
IFA does not require that the safe haven be in another city or province than the place of origin so long as it is truly an area in which the appellant can seek refuge from the persecution experienced in her home district.Footnote 22 Ultimately, the question of whether an appellant has shown, on a balance of probabilities, that they face a serious possibility of persecution in the proposed
IFA will turn on their evidence, keeping in mind the general principles above.
 In respect of analyzing the reasonableness of a proposed
IFA, a general framework for analyzing reasonableness in the large, urban centres in the south of Nigeria which are commonly referenced as potential
IFAs could be useful, which of course would still require the necessary consideration of a particular appellant’s specific circumstances and allegations, as discussed below. As a starting point, the Federal Court of Appeal has held that there is
a very high threshold for the unreasonableness test. It requires nothing less than the existence of conditions which would jeopardize the life and safety of a claimant in travelling or temporarily relocating to a safe area. In addition, it requires actual and concrete evidence of such conditions. The absence of relatives in a safe place, whether taken alone or in conjunction with other factors, can only amount to such condition if it meets that threshold, that is to say if it establishes that, as a result, a claimant's life or safety would be jeopardized. This is in sharp contrast with undue hardship resulting from loss of employment, loss of status, reduction in quality of life, loss of aspirations, loss of beloved ones and frustration of one's wishes and expectations.
The Court has reiterated the importance of not lowering that threshold.Footnote 23
 There are a range of issues that inform the analysis of reasonableness of a proposed
IFA with respect to any particular appellant, the most common and prominent of which include: transportation and travel, language, education and employment, accommodation, religion, indigeneship status, and the availability of medical and mental healthcare. In addition, the Chairperson’s Gender Guidelines specifically instruct that decision-makers should “take into account facts including religious, economic and cultural factors, and consider whether and how these factors affect women in the
IFA,”Footnote 24 which has been considered in my assessment below. I will review each in turn as it relates generally to Nigeria, before applying the factors to the Appellant’s specific circumstances in Ibadan and Port Harcourt.
 Transportation and Travel: In analyzing the viability of a proposed
IFA, consideration must be given to the Chairperson’s Gender Guidelines,Footnote 25 which states in part: “in determining the reasonableness of a woman’s recourse to an internal flight alternative (IFA), decision-makers should consider the ability of women, because of their gender, to travel safely to the
IFA and to stay there without facing undue hardship.” Nigeria is a large country with an area of over 900,000 square kilometres in 36 states, and a population of over 170 million people. Nigerians have the right to reside in any part of the country.Footnote 26 The documentary evidence shows that all main centres are linked by road; in addition, many of the large urban centres boast international airports,Footnote 27 which mitigate in favour of viability of the proposed
IFA in terms of transit and travel for a given appellant without facing undue hardship.
 Language: English is the official language in Nigeria, and a large percentage of the population speak Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), and Fulani in the major centres, in addition to over 500 indigenous languages.Footnote 28 The documents note that in public administration, English is the generally accepted language of federal agencies, both in correspondence and in oral communications, because of the wide variety of languages in the country.Footnote 29 Fluency in one or more of these languages will mitigate against a finding of unreasonableness due to a language barrier in an
IFA where an Appellant speaks English or the regional languages of Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), and/or Fulani, as appropriate.
 Education and Employment: The documentary evidence indicates that there is a high rate of unemployment in Nigeria generally, and that obtaining employment can be difficult. However, the same document also indicates that there are more female-headed households in the South, and that it is generally easier for women in the South to obtain work than in the North, although they often end up doing difficult work.Footnote 30 While the documentary evidence notes that women face considerable economic discrimination in Nigeria, it also notes that women who are educated and who have a higher social status are more likely to gain employment, and that ethnicity is less of a factor for obtaining work in the South than it is in the North.Footnote 31 It is worth noting that the total years of education completed on average for Nigerian men is 9 years, whereas for women it is 8 years.Footnote 32 Thus, where an appellant has achieved post-secondary education or has meaningful work experience, they may be in a better position in terms of securing employment, where such opportunities exist, than the average Nigerian.
 Accommodation: The documentary evidence indicates that rent can be steep in locations like Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Lagos where the cost of living is high, increasing the challenges for female-headed households without male support to obtain housing.Footnote 33 A review of the NDP indicates that the picture for females living alone in the South is mixed, although notably more positive than would be the case in the North, with the South offering greater opportunities for women of higher educational and socio-economic status.Footnote 34 It is also worthwhile to note that, while women may face obstacles in obtaining loans to purchase property, there is no statutory law in Nigeria against women owning land.Footnote 35 The personal circumstances of any particular appellant may make accommodation more or less viable, for instance, where they are able to access support of immediate or extended family or other social networks in or near the
IFA who are sympathetic to the appellant’s situation, as established by the evidence in any particular case. Access to accommodation is but one factor of several for decision-makers to consider in assessing the reasonableness of a proposed
IFA in light of an appellant’s individual circumstances. The burden remains on the appellant to demonstrate that the proposed
IFA is unreasonable or unduly harsh in their particular case.
 Religion: The documents indicate that across Nigeria “approximately 50 percent of the population is Muslim and 50 percent Christian,” and that they reside in approximately equal numbers in central and southwestern Nigeria.Footnote 36 Indeed, another source notes that “Muslims and Christians ‘live everywhere across the country...’” and that when it comes to the issue of relocation of Christians from the North to large cities such as Port Harcourt in the South, “language and culture would be more important than religion.”Footnote 37 Therefore, when an Appellant holds a meaningful affiliation to one of these religions, access to places of worship and other people who share their religious values may weigh in favour of an
IFA in that it provides an avenue to establish or develop a social structure tied to the Appellant’s religious beliefs.
 Indigeneship: Although the evidence is mixed, it is clear that due to significant migration to large, urban cities, indigeneship is not a significant barrier to relocation in these cities. Item 13.1 provides information on point, which states:
…indigeneship status is less important in big cities such as Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt than it is in other places, in terms of access to public jobs or ownership of land, because the indigene population in these areas has been "overwhelmed" by migrants to the cities. He explained, for example, that the establishment of the Federal Capital Territory pushed the indigenes of Abuja further from the "centre of influence." However, he also indicated that indigenous ethnic groups continue to dominate the market for land in Lagos, and that indigenes of the Niger Delta, including in Port Harcourt, have been demanding a greater allocation of jobs in the region's oil industry. Non-indigenes also face discrimination in the field of politics. Nevertheless, the Professor stated that, in other industries, they can generally find work where there is a demand for it.Footnote 38 [citations omitted]
Notably, the source indicated that in other industries, there is a general ability to find work so long as there is demand, without ethnicity or indigeneship hindering this aspect of integration. Therefore, the burden is on an appellant to show that any discrimination that could be faced in Nigeria’s large cities in the South on the basis of her ethnicity or non-indigeneship would rise to the level that it would render the proposed
IFAs to be unreasonable or unduly harsh.
 Availability of Medical and Mental Health Care: Where an appellant advances an argument about the availability of medical and mental health care, due attention will have to be given to whether availability and access to such care would render the proposed
IFA unreasonable or unduly harsh in the appellant’s particular circumstances. Documents in the NDP indicate that citizens must pay for services such as healthcare and education, although access to such services can be “difficult for all,” in the sense that the difficulty may be affording healthcare and education.Footnote 39 However, I would note that these difficulties appear to affect all Nigerians, and again, the burden is on the appellant to show that such considerations in their case would rise to a level that would render the proposed
IFA objectively unreasonable or unduly harsh in their particular circumstances.
 It is settled law that the concept of an
IFA is an inherent part of the Convention refugee definition because a claimant must be a refugee from a country, not from a particular region of a country.Footnote 40 Thus, the existence of an
IFA is fatal to any refugee claim.Footnote 41 Therefore, it is my view than an assessment in line with the framework set out above would be broadly applicable and determinative in a variety of Nigerian claims where the fear is of non-state actors, and as below, would have to be applied in any individual appellant’s particular circumstances.
RPD did not err in its analysis or finding regarding a viable
IFA for the Appellant
 The Appellant in the present case argues that the
RPD erred in its assessment of her credibility in respect of her evidence regarding the availability of an
IFA in Nigeria, such that the Panel did not engage in a detailed analysis of the subjective fear of the Appellant.
First Prong of
IFA Test: No Serious Possibility of Persecution in Proposed
 The Appellant argues that the
RPD failed to properly consider the Appellant’s evidence regarding detection in Ibadan and Port Harcourt, which she alleges would result in a serious possibility of persecution in either of the proposed
IFAs.Footnote 42 Specifically, she states that the
RPD erred by not accepting her testimony that her father and XXXX XXXX would be able to locate the Appellant if she were to move elsewhere in Nigeria. Ibadan, she testified, is just XXXX XXXX away from where her father and XXXX XXXX lived and thus, they would be able to easily locate her; in Port Harcourt or elsewhere, she testified that she believes the agents of persecution could locate her with the assistance of police due to widespread corruption and the fact that her mother has told her XXXX XXXX had engaged the services of the police to search for her. The Appellant argues that the
RPD erred in rejecting her evidence by requiring “definite proof” that the agents of persecution would be able to locate her in the proposed
 I am not persuaded that the
RPD so erred. The
RPD took into account the Appellant’s testimony on the possibility of persecution in the proposed
IFAs, but found that the Appellant provided very little detail about any mechanisms through which XXXX XXXX or her father would be able to search for or locate her, which the Panel correctly notes is a burden which is borne by the Appellant and which was not satisfied in this case.Footnote 44 I agree.
 The Appellant testified with respect to the possibility of persecution in Ibadan that she could be located due to its geographic proximity to her hometown (and that of the agents of persecution); she also expressed her concern that she could be recognized by “anybody” who might know her father or XXXX XXXX, but that she does not specifically know anyone who lives in Ibadan. With respect to the possibility of persecution elsewhere in Nigeria, the Appellant indicated in testimony that her mother told her that XXXX XXXX had “told the police to look for me,” which was explicitly considered by the
RPD,Footnote 45 but she provided no further detail: There is no evidence on the record about the reach or influence of XXXX XXXX, if such influence exists, nor how or why the police in other areas – specifically in large urban cities across Nigeria such as Ibadan or Port Harcourt – would be compelled to search for the Appellant. The mere assertion that the Appellant was told that XXXX XXXX had told police to search for her, without more, does not meet the evidentiary threshold to demonstrate that there exists a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country for the Appellant. Therefore, I find that the Appellant has not discharged her burden to show that she would face a serious possibility of persecution in Ibadan or Port Harcourt.
RPD relied upon jurisprudence that geographic size alone does not indicate that a proposed
IFA is viable,Footnote 46 but that the
IFA also need not be geographically distant from where a claimant has previously lived, so long as the area is truly one in which the individual can seek refuge from the persecution in her home district.Footnote 47 I find the Appellant’s evidence that she believes she would be seen and recognized if she were to relocate within Nigeria to be speculative and not supported by objective evidence, in particular given that the Appellant does not have a profile that would make her stand out among the general population, and given the documentary evidence about the size and population of Nigeria, specifically of Ibadan and Port Harcourt which are both large urban cities,Footnote 48 making it even less likely that the Appellant would be seen by someone who would recognize her and report her whereabouts to the agents of persecution. The fact that the Appellant may believe she could be found by chance due to proximity of one of the proposed
IFAs to her area of origin or due to interest in her whereabouts from potentially corrupt police officers does not make it so, and does not discharge her burden to show with credible and trustworthy evidence that she would face more than a mere possibility of persecution in the proposed
 The Appellant also argues that the
RPD was not mindful of police corruption when it considered her testimony concerning her stated fear of police. However, my review of the Decision demonstrates this is not so, as the Panel explicitly stated:
…that corruption is rife within the Nigerian police force, that officers can act arbitrarily… but the claimant has provided no credible and reliable evidence that would suggest that either her father or XXXX XXXX have the influence or resources to enlist the police to search for the claimant across the vast swathe of Nigeria… or that there is a reasonable possibility that the police would be able to find her.Footnote 49
The Appellant cites Item 10.1 of the NDP which states that the police have arrested family members of wanted persons in Nigeria in order to force the wanted person out of hiding;Footnote 50 however, there is insufficient evidence that the Appellant is wanted, or that her agents of persecution have the influence or resources to initiate a search for the Appellant nationally on the level of a wanted person. Likewise, the Appellant’s argument that the police could locate her using Nigeria’s “national computer network”Footnote 51 is an assertion without an evidentiary basis to indicate that her father or XXXX XXXX would engage the police to do such a search, that the police would initiate a national network search or that she would be found as a result of such a search. As the
RPD noted,Footnote 52 the documentary evidence indicates that a large number of Nigerians do not register with the government, and such failure to register does not result in the denial of civic rights such as education, health care, etc.Footnote 53 There is no objective evidence to suggest that the Appellant would, or indeed could, be sought via the national computer network, even taking into consideration the possibility of bribing corrupt officers.
 The Appellant also argues that the
RPD failed to consider that she was found by her father when she fled to Kastina state within Nigeria, and thus erred in its finding that she would not be located on a balance of probabilities in the proposed
IFAs.Footnote 54 My review of the cited paragraphs 21-22 of the Decision indicates this is not what the
RPD found, rather, the
RPD found the risk of the Appellant’s location being discovered by the agents of persecution was not satisfied on a balance of probabilities. I do not find that it was the Appellant’s lack of knowledge as to how her father discovered her whereabouts that underpin this finding: in my view, living with one’s aunt (or another family member), as the Appellant was doing in Kastina, is not the same as a true
IFA. I accept that there is a greater level of risk of being located if the Appellant were to live in another city in Nigeria with a family member, as it is likely that her father would search for her with family. The fact that the Appellant was found by her father while living with her aunt, albeit in another state in Nigeria, does not negate the finding that either Ibadan or Port Harcourt would be viable
IFAs for the Appellant such that she has not discharged her burden to show that she would face a serious possibility of persecution in either of these proposed
 Upon my own independent review of the evidence, I find that the assertions made by the Appellant about why she believes she would face a serious possibility of persecution in Ibadan or Port Harcourt – namely, that Ibadan is close to her hometown which she contends would increase the chance that she would be recognized and her location reported to her father or XXXX XXXX, or elsewhere in Nigeria because the police would accept a bribe and return her to her parents because “they know that I am still a young person” – are speculative and unsupported by the documentary evidence as set out below. As the
RPD noted,Footnote 55 while the police may have been willing to return the Appellant to her parents while she was still a minor in Nigeria, it placed little weight on her claim that she would be at risk on this basis now, several years later, as a young adult. This is not something the Appellant challenged on appeal. Given the onus to show that the proposed
IFAs do not satisfy the first prong of the Rasaratnam test, the Appellant has not discharged her burden. Therefore, I find that both Ibadan and Port Harcourt present viable
IFAs for the Appellant in that there is not a serious possibility that she would face persecution there.
Second Prong of
IFA Test: It is not Objectively Unreasonable or Unduly Harsh for the Appellant to relocate to the Proposed
 The issue, then, is whether it would be reasonable in all the Appellant’s circumstances for her to relocate to either Ibadan or Port Harcourt. I find that in consideration of all of the Appellant’s personal circumstances, it is not unduly harsh or objectively unreasonable for the Appellant to relocate to either Ibadan or Port Harcourt. As a starting point, I note that the Appellant is single and without children to support, which the documents indicate may make relocation more viable for female refugee claimants such as the Appellant who fear non-state actors, and I agree with the
RPD’s assessment of her additional personal circumstances as discussed below, on a correctness standard.
 The Appellant was asked at the hearing why she could not relocate to Port Harcourt or Ibadan. She indicated that she could not live in Port Harcourt because she did not speak the language there, she is not an indigene of that state, and because her Yoruba ethnicity would stand out there. She testified that she could not live in Ibadan because of its geographic proximity to the location of her agents of persecution (addressed above) and because she does not know anyone there, so she would face difficulties with accommodation and employment. I will address each factor in turn.
 Transportation and Travel: In considering the viability of the
IFAs for this Appellant, I find that the Appellant would have the ability, notwithstanding gender and the fact that she would be returning alone, to travel safely to either proposed
IFA and to stay there without facing undue hardship. Both Port Harcourt and Ibadan have international airportsFootnote 56 which would allow the Appellant to return there directly, without having to undergo any potential rigours of transit as a female travelling alone. As such, I do not find that the Appellant’s gender renders either Ibadan or Port Harcourt to be unreasonable due to travel or transport considerations, nor are there any other transportation or travel concerns which would render the proposed
IFAs unreasonable or unduly harsh.
 Language: According to her Basis of Claim (BOC), the Appellant speaks Yoruba and English,Footnote 57 which as noted above, are languages widely spoken across Southern Nigeria, including specifically in Port Harcourt and Ibadan. The Appellant admits that she is fluent in both languages, but argues this does not detract from the fact that both Ibadan and Port Harcourt are unreasonable
IFAs for her, due to her “inability to obtain accommodation and employment” there. I agree with the Appellant that language is but one factor to be considered in assessing the viability of the
IFAs; however, in this case, the fact that the Appellant is fluent in two of the official languages spoken in the
IFAsFootnote 58 does weigh in favour of these locations being reasonable in her circumstances.
 Education and Employment: The Appellant is, at present, 20 years old. Her evidence indicates that she has completed secondary school and obtained a diploma in XXXX through post-secondary studies in Nigeria, for a total of XXXX years of education.Footnote 59 The
RPD noted that completing the upper levels of high school places the Appellant in the upper half of Nigerian women for achievement in education,Footnote 60 as the NDP notes that the average Nigerian woman has just 8 years of education.Footnote 61 As well, the Appellant has worked in her field, XXXX, for over a year in Nigeria.Footnote 62 Both the Appellant’s level of education and work experience, I find, would increase her employability were she to relocate to either of the proposed
IFAs in the South of Nigeria. While the Appellant cites the NDP indicating that for a single woman to get a “reasonable job” in Ibadan or Port Harcourt, among other large cities, she would have to have the help of someone influential or rich, the same document indicates that it is easier for a woman to live alone without male support if she is educated and has a high social status, because she is more likely to gain employment through connections to powerful individuals and politicians than through education, and for women who are educated, it may be “easier to cope” with running a household without male or family support.Footnote 63 Therefore, I find it is a combination of the Appellant’s educational level being above-average for Nigerian women, in conjunction with the fact that she has work experience to rely on to facilitate employability where such opportunities exist. Thus, I find that the Appellant’s personal factors weigh in favour of her being able to find employment as compared to the average Nigeria, and the conditions in the
IFA in light of her personal circumstances do not fall below the standard that the Federal Court of Appeal has warned against, namely “undue hardship resulting from loss of employment, loss of status, reduction in quality of life.…”Footnote 64
 Accommodation: The Appellant argues it would be “impossible” for her to secure accommodation in either Ibadan or Port Harcourt without the assistance of male support, thus rendering both potential
IFAs unreasonable.Footnote 65 She cites documentary evidence indicating it is “very difficult” for female-headed households without male support to obtain housing, where landlords may assume they are prostitutes, or that they would have difficulty affording the “steep rents” in locations like Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Lagos where the general cost of living is high.Footnote 66 However, as noted above, a review of that document indicates that the picture for females living alone in the South is mixed, although notably more positive than would be the case in the North, with the South offering greater opportunities for women of higher educational and socio-economic status.Footnote 67 As noted above, the Appellant’s educational background, coupled with a degree of relevant work experience in her field, places her in the upper half of Nigerian women socio-economically. While I am aware that the documents suggest someone in the position of the Appellant could face discrimination, particularly economic discrimination, in returning to a new location in Nigeria, I am not persuaded that the situation is so dire as to be “impossible” as the Appellant argues, or that it rises to the level to make Port Harcourt or Ibadan objectively unreasonable or unduly harsh in the Appellant’s circumstances.
 Religion: The Appellant indicated in her BOC that she is Christian.Footnote 68 The Appellant argues that the
RPD was speculative when it stated that the Appellant could obtain support from religious organizations or other organizations or charities if she were to relocate to either of the
IFAs. However, I find that the documents suggest the Appellant would not be a minority in her Christian faith in either of the proposed
IFAs, which are found in the country’s south. Further, the documents suggest that due to her Christianity, she would be familiar with religious culture there and that Christian worship facilities would be available should the Appellant seek them. These are pertinent factors which relate to the potential for the Appellant’s integration in the
IFA locations, and they militate against a finding that either Port Harcourt or Ibadan would be considered unreasonable or unduly harsh in the Appellant’s circumstances.
 Indigeneship Status: At her hearing, the Appellant indicated her belief that indigeneship was a factor in why she could not reasonably move to Port Harcourt, stating that because she is not an indigene of that state, her Yoruba ethnicity would stand out there. The Appellant did not make an argument pertaining to indigeneship on appeal, but in addition to the significant Yoruba population in Nigeria noted by the
RPD,Footnote 69 I also find support for the fact that conditions would not be objectively unreasonable for someone in the position of the Appellant to relocate to either Ibadan or Port Harcourt in light of the information cited above indicating that indigeneship status is less important in big cities such as Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt than it is in other places due to the high rate of population growth in urban centres. Thus, I find that indigeneship is not a significant barrier to relocation, particularly so in the case of the Appellant, for whom there are no reasons to believe would be searching for employment in the oil industry or politics in Port Harcourt, which the documents note are industries most influenced by indigeneship. Notably, the source indicated that in other industries, there is a general ability to find work so long as there is demand, without ethnicity or indigeneship hindering this aspect of integration. Therefore, I do not find that any discrimination that could be faced by the Appellant in either of these two large cities on the basis of her Yoruba ethnicity or non-indigeneship would rise to the level that it would render the proposed
IFAs to be unreasonable or unduly harsh.
 Availability of Medical and Mental Health Care: The Appellant argues that the fact that health care and education must be privately paid for, and that “accessing such services is ‘difficult for all’ residents of Port Harcourt” mitigates against its suitability as an
IFA; however, she has advanced no such argument about Ibadan. I find that the mere fact that some social services such as education and health care must be paid for privately does not indicate such services would be unavailable or inaccessible to the Appellant if and as required, and therefore I find that this fact does not render the proposed
IFAs unreasonable on the high threshold set out in the Canadian jurisprudence.
 With respect to her mental health, the Appellant argues that failure to have regard to a psychological report in evidence constitutes a reviewable error by the
RPD.Footnote 70 However, this is not the case in the present appeal, where the
RPD engaged with the psychotherapist’s report in a considered and detailed manner, indicating that it was sensitive and alert to the issues that the psychotherapist noted in her meeting with the Appellant, but that neither the report nor the Appellant herself provided any indications that the mental health recommendations contained therein – including specifically counselling and a strong support network – would not be available to her in Nigeria.Footnote 71 Indeed, I find that the psychological assessment was properly taken into consideration by the
RPD under the second prong of the
IFA test regarding whether the psychological evidence would indicate that it would be objectively unreasonable or unduly harsh for the Appellant to relocate there in light of her own psychological state or condition.
 I have reviewed the report of the psychotherapist as part of my independent analysis, and I note that the report indicates that the Appellant exhibits symptoms consistent with XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, XXXX XXXX XXXX, and XXXX XXXX XXXX.Footnote 72 The report states that based on an approximately one hour evaluation, the psychotherapist found the Appellant “requires appropriate counselling and a strong supportive network in order to XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX,” and that with a medical and therapeutic plan, the Appellant could work though XXXX XXXX, XXXX and XXXX she is reported to feel.Footnote 73 I find there is nothing to suggest that the Appellant could not access health care facilities, including mental health care facilities that offer counselling in Ibadan or Port Harcourt, and that there is no indication that she could not establish or find a strong supportive network as recommended by the psychotherapist. I agree that the psychotherapist’s assessment that the Appellant would benefit from continued counselling to work through her symptoms is an important aspect of the personal circumstances of the Appellant which must be considered in deciding whether the proposed
IFA is reasonable; however, there is no evidence on the record that access to such treatment in Ibadan or Port Harcourt would be unavailable or inaccessible to the Appellant, which I reiterate is the Appellant’s burden to show, on a balance of probabilities. Therefore, I do not find that the proposed
IFA is unduly harsh or objectively unreasonable in the present case.
 Upon review of the Appeal record, including the testimony of the Appellant, her documentary evidence and the information available in the NDP, I agree with the conclusion of the
RPDFootnote 74 for the same reasons, that Port Harcourt and Ibadan offer the Appellant a viable
IFA within Nigeria; the claim therefore fails on this basis.
 Once the
IFA has been named, the burden is then on the Appellants to show that either of the two prongs of the Rasaratnam test are not met. There is insufficient evidence on the Record to suggest that the Appellant’s father or XXXX XXXX would have the reach or influence to locate the Appellant elsewhere in Nigeria, including specifically Ibadan or Port Harcourt, nor that they would be able to enlist the police to conduct a national search for the Appellant even when corruption and the ability to potentially bribe individual officers is considered, such that it would give rise to a serious possibility of persecution for the Appellant or subject her personally to a risk to life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or a danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture. Likewise, she has not shown that in her personal circumstances, the proposed
IFAs would be objectively unreasonable or unduly harsh. As noted above, the burden of proof rests with the Appellant to show that she does not have an
IFA to Ibadan or Port Harcourt once raised, and I find that the Appellant has not discharged that burden.
Other Arguments Not Determinative
 The Appellant argues that the
RPD failed to assess the risk of the Appellant having to undergo FGM, and that this error is determinative. I am not persuaded that the
RPD failed to assess the risk the Appellant might face as a result of FGM. The Decision makes clear what her allegations are in respect of both the forced marriage and FGM, which the Appellant’s claim indicates are intertwined: that is, with the support of the Appellant’s father, the person she was being forced to marry was the same person who was insisting she undergo FGM in accordance with his tradition.Footnote 75 The Decision indicates that the
RPD accepted these core claims as credible.Footnote 76 The determinative issue in both the refugee claim and in this appeal is
IFA, not credibility – in that sense, the risk to the Appellant due to forced marriage and FGM in Nigeria was accepted. However, the
RPD considered the Appellant’s evidence and determined that she had not discharged her burden to refute with credible and trustworthy evidence either prong of the test for a viable
IFA to Ibadan or Port Harcourt, which was the determinative issue. Therefore, I am not persuaded that the
RPD erred as alleged.
 Having found that the
RPD did not err as alleged in the Appellant’s Memorandum, and after my own review of the evidence, including the Appellant’s documentary evidence, oral testimony and the information available in the NDP, I have reviewed the
RPD’s decision and analysis on a correctness standard and find that the
RPD was correct in finding that the Appellant has a viable
IFA to either Ibadan or Port Harcourt, in consideration of all her personal circumstances. I find that there is insufficient evidence that she would face a serious possibility of persecution in either proposed city, and I find that her relocation to Ibadan or Port Harcourt would not subject her personally to a risk to life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or a danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture, and that requiring her to relocate there would not be unduly harsh or objectively unreasonable. I agree with the conclusion of the
RPD, and for the same reasons,Footnote 77 that Port Harcourt or Ibadan offer the Appellant a viable
IFA within Nigeria; the claim therefore fails on this basis.
 Pursuant to paragraph 111(1)(a) of the IRPA, I confirm the decision of the
RPD that the Appellant is not a Convention Refugee nor a person in need of protection. This appeal is dismissed.
Signed: L. Gamble
Date: May 17, 2018