49-year-old Bolanle Alo has worked in Canada for 12 years without any criminal record until he was detained two weeks before his death on August 7 by officials of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
This follows the Board’s rejection of his refugee claim on humanitarian and compassionate grounds in February and the order for his removal from Canada, a country where he has lived since 2005, worked as a taxi driver and was an active member of the Evangel Christian Assembly in Calgary.
“I knew him as a gentle guy, as a happy guy. Friendly, always had a smile, and also helpful. He was willing to contribute to the church. Nobody can say this is a normal outcome of a guy who dreams of coming to Canada,” Bob Webster, a pastor at Alo’s church tells local media Global News.
The deceased leaves behind a widow and two adult sons who are living in Lagos, Nigeria, and are demanding answers as to what exactly happened, says the lawyer of Alo’s family, Elias Munshya.
Bonlale Alo was put on a plane scheduled to depart from Calgary to Amsterdam and he is reported to have had an altercation with officials against his deportation.
The refugee board documents say Alo was detained because he had made “concerning statements about how he would disrupt any removal from Canada”.
The Calgary police said they responded to the plane after the altercation and “the man was in medical distress and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead,” reports Global News.
The police said an autopsy was conducted and they are trying to determine the exact cause and manner of death which could take six months to complete.
“What the family knows is: he was in detention, he was put on a plane to be deported and there was an altercation. As a result of that, he ended up dying, and we want to know — to those people who were there — what exactly happened,” says lawyer Munshya.
“It’s only after they know what happened that they can think about what steps to take,” he adds.
This is one of the many immigration battles that befall Africans in North America who are being chased away despite contributing to the economy and maintaining a good conduct.