Nigeria man died at Calgary Airport


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Nigerian man who died at Calgary airport identified, family is “heartbroken” – CALGARY HERALD

AUGUST 12, 2018

A Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer’s shoulder flash is shown at the Calgary Courts Centre is shown in Calgary, Alta on Saturday April 22, 2017. Jim Wells//Postmedia JIM WELLS / JIM WELLS/POSTMEDIA

A Nigerian man who died at the Calgary airport after an altercation with border agents has been identified as Bolanle Alo and his family says they are “heartbroken” over the loss.

Elias Munshya, who identified himself as the lawyer representing Alo’s family, says the man’s wife and two sons — who are living in Nigeria — received the news on Saturday morning.

Munshya said the family is still processing the news and in the coming days he will work with them to devise a legal strategy. So far Munshya finds the information surrounding Alo’s death of concern, as much for the family as from a legal perspective.

“In Canada every person has Charter rights, even those who are perceived to be illegal,” said Munshya. “If someone is in detention, they’re still supposed to be treated fairly and humanely — that is our Canadian system.”

The 49-year-old had been living in Calgary and was being deported from Canada on . He was escorted by Canada Border Services Agency officers on a KLM flight headed for Amsterdam when an incident happened and the plane returned to the gate.

Alo was found in medical distress and rushed to Peter Lougheed Centre, where he was pronounced dead.

“If (Alo) was under custody of CBSA, the family would like to know what happened,” said Munshya. “How did a person who was under CBSA custody end up dead?”

Munshya believes Alo came to Canada to seek asylum but his claims were denied, which led to his deportation. He said Alo was afraid he would be persecuted in Nigeria, but was unsure why he felt this way. However the lawyer said nothing is clear at this time and he wants to be “as patient as possible to get to the bottom of what exactly happened.”

The Calgary Police Service homicide unit is acting as an impartial third party to investigate the incident, as the foreign national’s death was a sudden, in-custody death.

Police had previously said the investigation into Alo’s death could take as long as six months, to allow for interviewing witnesses and results of an autopsy.

Alo spent his time in Calgary working as a taxi driver and attending Evangel Christian Assembly Church, which is where he met Munshya.

“He hoped that he was going to continue living here in Canada and most likely bring his wife and children here,” said Munshya. “Unfortunately it did not work out and it’s very sad that he had to die in this way. He was a very good guy.”

Munshya expects a memorial will be held in his friend’s honour in the coming weeks.

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