Toronto man set to be deported to Nigeria after a 13-year battle
Jamil Ogiamien was scheduled to be escorted by two border enforcement officers and a nurse on a charter flight to Lagos.
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A Toronto man has lost his last-ditch effort to delay his deportation to Nigeria after a 13-year fight that ended Thursday when the Federal Court refused to hear his latest request to suspend the removal.
Jamil Ogiamien, 48, was scheduled to be escorted by two Canada Border Services Agency officers and a nurse on a charter flight to Lagos overnight Thursday after the court dismissed his request, confirmed his lawyers, Subodh Bharati and David Cote.
According to an affidavit filed with the court by the federal Justice Department, the deportation arrangement would cost taxpayers $244,766.60, plus fuel. He was booked for deportation in late February but successfully asked the court to adjourn it because he needed time to retain a lawyer.
“We are disappointed by the outcome of Mr. Ogiamien’s case. We are extremely concerned about the amount of money which the Government of Canada is spending to deport this one individual,” said Cote. “We do not understand why Canada is spending this money to charter a plane to remove an individual who is not a danger to the public. Unfortunately, this was not explained to us, the client or the court.”
Ogiamien was awarded $60,000 in 2016 by an Ontario judge who ruled his charter rights were violated by multiple lockdowns at a provincial jail, where he had been detained for three years awaiting deportation. The award was quashed by the Court of Appeal for Ontario last August.
According to the court decisions from Ogiamien’s previous litigation, he moved to the United States in 1980 and came to Canada in 2001. He got into trouble with the law when he was arrested for using forged documents at an Ontario driver’s licensing office.
He filed an asylum claim while he was serving a six-month jail sentence for the offence, but the claim was deemed abandoned when he was extradited to the U.S. to face charges there of forgery and identity theft. In 2005, he was deported back to Canada, which has been trying to deport him since.
In 2013, he was arrested by Peel police and charged with impaired driving, possession of marijuana, robbery and prostitution-related charges. Although he was ultimately acquitted of all of the charges in 2014, he continued to be held at Maplehurst in Milton until June 2016, when he won his lawsuit and was released on a court order.
Before his deportation, Ogiamien had been asking for months to undergo a mental health assessment and an appointment was scheduled for April, said Bharati.
“Without a thorough assessment and diagnosis, we are concerned that he will not be able to find treatment in Nigeria,” said Bharati. “There are few options for mental health care in that country and that all too often, people with such problems end up begging on the streets to survive.”
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