Canadian citizen held for months sues government for $7.6M after border agents dismiss papers as fake

Author/ ​Megan CerulloPublication/ NY Daily News

A Canadian man who authorities mistook for a failed refugee claimant is suing the government for nearly $8 million after he was arrested by border agents and detained for eight months.Olajide Ogunye, 47, was taken into custody by border agents in June 2016, despite producing citizenship papers and a government-issued health card.The agents brought him to a Canadian Border Services Agency detention facility in Toronto where they took his fingerprints and alleged they belonged to Oluwafemi Kayode Johnson, who had been deported from Canada to Nigeria in the 1990s, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.“I was confused, really confused,” Ogunye told the CBC.Ogunye said agents told him they believed he was Johnson and was impersonating Ogunye.“It was very frustrating. Somebody telling you you’re not your name,” he said. “I showed them all my IDs. I showed them my citizenship. How are you going to put a Canadian citizen in jail?”Ogunye spent eight months behind bars. He was released in February 2017 after suffering immensely under lockdown.He claims he had no contact with family members, and spent one whole month “crying nonstop,” according to the CBC. “I was crying continuously,” he said.He was put on suicide watch and prescribed antidepressants.Ogunye — who is seeking 10 million Canadian dollars, or $7.62 million — is disputing how long it took the CBSA to investigate his case. A report shows that agents first interviewed his family members 6 and a half months after he was arrested.“They put me through a lot. They destroyed my life. I lost my job,” he told the CBC.He said his detainment ruined his relationship with his kids.“They destroyed my family. I don’t have a good relationship with my kids anymore. I don’t think that’s going to come back.”The CBSA’s report contains contradictory statements concerning Ogunye’s identity.At one point it states that there is “no doubt this person detained is Johnson.” The report, in the same paragraph, says, “the person in custody may be Olajide Obabukunola Ogunye,” according to the CBC.Ogunye’s lawyer, Adam Hummel, says his client’s “unlawful detention was the result of hasty decision-making and a negligent investigation.”

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