Man awaiting $60K court award over lockdowns spared deportation
Jamil Ogiamien who is in the midst of a court battle to secure a $60,000 award ordered by an Ontario judge has been temporarily spared deportation to his native Nigeria.
A Nigerian man who was facing deportation amid a court fight to secure a $60,000 award by an Ontario judge over mistreatment during jail lockdowns has been granted a last-minute reprieve.
Jamil Ogiamien, 46, was awarded the compensation in a decision in May by Superior Court Justice Douglas Gray. But the ruling is under appeal by both the federal and Ontario governments and not scheduled to be heard until February.
“I’m so relieved that at least I would be able to have my date in court,” Ogiamien told the Star in a phone interview from the Toronto East Detention Centre on Thursday after he received a letter from border enforcement officials that his deportation has been suspended for now. No reason for given for the temporary reprieve.
He was scheduled to be deported on Friday to Nigeria, a country he left as a child and has no memory of.
Ogiamien was arrested and charged by Peel Regional Police in April 2013 for impaired driving and possession of cannabis. Although he was acquitted of the charges a year later, he continued to be held by Canada Border Services Agency for alleged immigration violations, until June 1, when the court ordered the compensation and his immediate release from detention.
However, border enforcement officials arrested him again in October when he showed up in their office for his regular reporting. When he learned he was slated to be deported on Friday, he contacted the Star and said he believed Canadian officials were trying to pull a fast one on him by depriving him of an opportunity to attend February’s appeal hearing and thus a chance to collect his money.
“My detention was so unnecessary. My life has been wrecked and destroyed,” said Ogiamien, who, along with another detainee, Huy Nguyen, sued the province for their suffering during the numerous staffing-related lockdowns at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton.
In a case considered a rarity, Justice Gray ruled the duo’s rights to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment were violated and ordered a total of $85,000 in compensation to both. Ogiamien’s share of $60,000 was to be paid by the province and the federal government.
According to court documents, Ogiamien moved to the United States in the 1980s. He got arrested during a visit to Canada in 2001 for using forged documents. He pleaded guilty and received a six-month sentence in 2002. Ogiamien said he ended up staying in Canada.
Canada Border Services Agency would not comment on Ogiamien’s case, but a spokesperson said, “The decision to remove someone from Canada is not taken lightly and everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law and all removal orders are subject to various levels of appeal.”
A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 11 in the Milton court for Ogiamien’s release.