My husband died while being deported from Canada. Help me find out what happened.
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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 body remains in Canada. His family in Nigeria want answers. Please read a letter from his wife below, and add your name to this petition to urge action.
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 today, October 12th, no 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 can’t leave the house until he has been put to rest. And so for months, I have been in my house, waiting and praying for him to return so we can make sure he can rest.
Newspapers in Canada took one sentence from one immigration hearing and printed it about him. 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 wanted to 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 file, but he always sent money to us, 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.
Now because the Canadian government won’t pay for his body to be sent to us, his family in the US, church pastors in Nigeria and Canada have been raising the money. And we have raised it and sent it, but we still don’t have him with us.
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.
I am asking you to help me tell the Canadian government to have mercy on me. Return the body so he can rest. Give us some answers so we can rest.
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.
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