It is Christmas, and I do not know why or how my husband died in Canada

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On August 7, 2018, Bolanle Idowu Alo was on a flight being deported from Canada (aboard KLM flight 678 to Amsterdam between 3 pm and 4:30 pm on August 7th). Immigration enforcement was with him. He died. His family in Nigeria want answers.

Please read a letter from his wife below, and add your name to this petition to urge action. Mrs Alo says “I am asking you to help me tell the Canadian government to have mercy on me. Give us some answers so we can rest. It is Christmas and New Year season, and my sons who are both students and I depended fully on him to survive. We ask for answers about what happened to our Bolanle.”

                              Open Letter from Mrs. Alo

To the Canadian and Nigerian people and their governments, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, Alberta Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim, Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley and KLM CEO Ben Smith

My husband Bolanle Alo died on August 7th.

No one told us that he was dead until four days later on August 11th.

He died on a plane (aboard KLM flight 678 to Amsterdam between 3 pm and 4:30 pm on August 7th) when the Government of Canada was trying to deport him to Nigeria. He died while in the custody of Canadian immigration officers. Yet as of todayno one from the Canadian government has contacted us to tell us what happened to him.

When I first found out about my husband’s death, I was tossed into a terrible state of chaos and confusion. I did not understand if I was on earth or if I had died. It was as if my soul had been ripped out of me.

My husband Bolanle was a patient man. A man who knew God. From the day I married him, he has never fought with me. He was so gentle. He would never cause trouble. And now he is dead, and I don’t know why.

We are writing this letter to tell the Canadian and Nigerian people, and  governments who Bolanle was to us. We are writing to ask for help.

First of all, we want an independent investigation into the police, the CBSA, KLM and everyone else who was involved so we can get answers.

Secondly, we want to know how he died and what happened. I know my husband, he doesn’t like crowds or noise or a fight. But we hear that the airlines says that he started a fight that caused this. They haven’t given us any medical reports (autopsy reports) or a cause of death. (Please send any information that you have, if you were aboard KLM flight 678 to Amsterdam between 3 pm and 4:30 pm on August 7th)

I spend all my time wondering what caused this. It makes me deeply depressed. We want to hear from the guards who were there with him and the doctors. We don’t know what his last words were. We want to know if they rushed him to the hospital or if they waited. We want the people on the plane to reach out to us and tell us what they saw.

We have learned that my husband is not the only one, immigration in Canada has been responsible for other deaths on planes and in prisons. Why does the government do this? Have mercy on us immigrants. Your people are in our countries too, and we do not do this to you. We urge you to talk to us and other families and implement measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

In Yoruba custom, as a wife, I could not leave the house until he was put to rest on November 21st 2018. And so for three and a half months, I was in my house, waiting and praying for him to return so we can make sure he could rest.

Newspapers in Canada took one sentence from one immigration hearing and printed it about him. They made him out to be a violent person. But they are not talking about the man we knew.

Bolanle was born in a family of 7 siblings. He completed his education in the sciences and then became a salary earner. He worked many jobs. He worked as a security guard, and was even a security guard at the US Embassy in Victoria Island, Lagos.

When Bolanle arrived in Canada, he sought a refugee status as he was fleeing home from danger to his life. He thought he could study at first but he became a taxi cab driver. He was a quiet man, so he never confided in us about the difficult work he needed to do, or what was happening with his immigration application, but he always sent money to us regularly, and stayed in touch regularly and communicated with us on a weekly basis, and stayed in touch.

We always said that one day we would all go to Canada to join him. We were waiting for that day until a few weeks ago. I work as a hairdresser, and just a few months ago we were making plans to help our family. But now he is dead, and we don’t know how we will survive without his earnings.

The Canadian government did not pay for his body to be sent to us, his family in the US, church pastors in Nigeria and Canada raised the money.

Lastly, I am asking for help with my family. I want my children to reach their potential, have them become educated and get meaningful jobs. Our family needs support. {Click here to support}

Bolanle was not a wayward or violent man. He was not a troublemaker, he was a man of God. His death has completely shocked us and we need the help of the Canadian and Nigerian people to tell their government to give us answers.