Two gay Kamloops men to be deported to Nigeria despite threats, jail | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Two gay Kamloops men to be deported to Nigeria despite threats, jail

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Two Kamloops men are being deported back to their home country despite facing threats and laws against their sexual identities.

The men, who is not identifying, each claimed their fathers have already made threats against them through text messages. Their home country of Nigeria has criminalized same-sex relationships and they could be jailed, they claimed.

But that wasn’t enough for Federal Court Justice Russel Zinn, who ordered them removed from Canada because they violated immigration law.

The two men came from Nigeria to study at Thompson Rivers University in 2014 and 2015. By 2019 they were out of school, but they never left and their study permits expired, according to a recently published federal court decision.

Their error, according to Zinn, was not sticking around to deal with the process.

The men were ordered to leave the country on May 25, but neither have abided by the order. 

When Zinn heard their appeal on Nov. 22, he said they arrived with "unclean hands," having overstayed their study permits, then failing to comply and leave Canada. He dismissed their appeal.

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"The strength of our immigration system depends on adherence to the law. Condoning misconduct sends the wrong message to those who respect and observe the law even when their claims have been unsuccessful," he said in his decision.

He added that an immigration officer previously voiced skepticism over whether the two men were actually in a romantic relationship. One of the men, he said, "did not establish his sexual orientation or conjugal relationship with his purported same-sex spouse."

In a May 24 decision, Justice Yvan Roy said that it was difficult to verify whether the text messages containing threats from their fathers were authentic, adding that they can move to a different area of the country to avoid their families.

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Aside from threats the pair claimed they got from family, same-sex relationships risk up to 14 years in prison in Nigeria. The law imposing harsh punishments for gay people was passed in the country in 2014, according to Human Rights Watch.

Neither of the men have appealed for refugee status.

The two former TRU students haven't been removed from the country as of the Nov. 22 hearing, but Zinn expected that neither of the men would voluntarily be removed from Canada. If they do not, Canada Border Services Agency will issue a Canada-wide arrest for the two men.

"Frankly, the Court has no reason to believe that either will ever voluntarily attend for removal," he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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