“Guardian Angels” from Nigeria | “Expelling us is the equivalent of the death penalty”

Patients and friends mobilize so that a family of “guardian angels” from Nigeria can remain in the country




Deborah Adegboye didn’t want to bother her severely disabled clients and their families with her problems.

They are already suffering enough as it is.

But these families with whom she works on a daily basis, in Montreal, ended up discovering the extent of the tragedy experienced by the beneficiary attendant (PAB).

Originally from Nigeria, the mother of three children and her husband will be deported from Canada on April 5.

“I don’t have enough words to describe how kind, caring and compassionate Deborah is,” describes Victoria Karls, a family member of one of Deborah’s young patients.

We have seen many PABs, but none of his caliber.

Victoria Karls, about Deborah Adegboye

In the eyes of Mme Karls, as well as other families and friends who are mobilizing these days to try to invalidate the decision of Immigration Canada, the expulsion of the “guardian angel”, her husband and her children is a “ tragedy.”

“Our health system needs more Deborah,” says Mme Karls, outraged.

Irregular arrival

Deborah Adegboye, her husband and their first child entered Canada in 2017 via Roxham Road to seek asylum, fleeing serious religious threats suffered in Nigeria.

It’s that M’s husbandme Adegboye, who requested anonymity in the report for fear of reprisals, is Christian. However, his family disapproves of this religion, urging him instead to become the head priest of a cult. His brother died following a rite of this obscure cult. He was then designated to take over.

You should know that Nigeria is ranked sixth in the world on the World Watch List 2024, a ranking of countries where the persecution of Christians reaches extreme levels. According to data from Open Doors, an NGO that supports Christians around the world, 82% of Christians killed for reasons linked to faith worldwide in 2023 were killed in this African country.

However, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) rejected their asylum application in 2020 because it had doubts about the reality of the persecution reported by Deborah’s husband (and by several NGOs) .

PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, THE PRESS

Maryse Poisson, director of social initiatives at Collectif Bienvenue

The couple, however, presented numerous documents and did everything to prove that the danger was real, argues the director of social initiatives for Collectif Bienvenue, Maryse Poisson, who supports the family in the process.

“Having considered all the evidence, the Panel concludes that the Applicants have failed to establish that they face a serious risk of persecution or, on the balance of probabilities, a risk to their life or a risk of treatment or cruel and unusual punishment, or danger, suspected of serious grounds for the existence of torture in Nigeria,” wrote the IRB in its January 2020 decision.

Multiple requests

Since 2020, the family has filed several applications to regularize their status, but each time, decision-makers have questioned the credibility of the danger, arguing, among other things, that the family only had to move to another region of Nigeria than that of the husband’s family, summarizes Mme Fish.

In the eyes of Mme Adegboye, this does not make sense since his in-laws have “connections” all over the country. The proof, she says: the attempted kidnapping of their baby, just before their flight to Canada.

The couple had two more children here. The three, aged 3, 5 and 8 respectively, go to school or attend daycare in French.

During the pandemic, both parents worked as “essential workers” first in the food sector. The mother even worked, while pregnant, “on her feet all day” in a cold storage warehouse. Then, as a PAB after having followed training – at his own expense – in a private college. The couple then became members of those that Prime Minister François Legault called the “guardian angels”.

The couple has been working for an agency for more than two years, working with people with severe disabilities, mainly at home.

PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, THE PRESS

Deborah Adegboye

We only received three months of social assistance when we arrived. It was important for us to contribute to Quebec society as quickly as possible. And we never applied for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.

Deborah Adegboye

M’s husbandme Adegboye began working as a PAB during the pandemic, i.e. in 2021. However, the program to regularize the status of “guardian angels” created in Canada only offered status to PABs who worked in 2020.

The family could have obtained their permanent residence under this special program, but they were excluded due to a question of start dates, laments Mme Fish, from the Welcome Collective.

“Rarely violent”

At the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the family was asked if they wanted to entrust their two youngest children to a relative in the country since they are not covered by the expulsion order, being Canadian citizens. .

“I would take them to protect them from the dangers in Nigeria, but it is frankly inhumane to ask a mother to separate from her children,” denounces Olivia Viveros, a Montrealer who became a friend of the family after helping the latter. to furnish his first home upon his arrival here in 2017.

PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Families of Deborah Adegboye’s disabled patients are mobilizing to try to prevent her and her family from being evicted.

Mme Adegboye tries not to cry in front of his children, but they understand that nothing is going well. Usually energetic, their character has darkened since the expulsion order was issued. The eldest has nightmares.

With their (Quebec) accent, if they have to go back to school in Nigeria, we will immediately know that they come from elsewhere. It won’t take long for my husband’s family to find us.

Deborah Adegboye

“Expelling us,” said the 42-year-old mother, “is the equivalent of the death penalty. »

An application for permanent residence on humanitarian grounds filed for the family was refused in October 2023. She filed a request for review as well as a second application on humanitarian grounds for which she does not yet have a response. Canada’s Minister of Immigration could also use his discretionary power to intervene in the matter.

For the moment, the AFSC has purchased the plane tickets and is convening them from April 3. The family requested a stay from the AFSC, a request which was rejected last Tuesday – the day of our interview.

Despite the fact that other requests, including the second for humanitarian reasons, are still being processed, the family therefore risks being expelled on April 5, if nothing changes.

“This process is of rare violence,” protests M.me Fish, from the Welcome Collective. Children will have to leave school overnight in the middle of the school year. »

Mme Viveros created a crowdfunding page (GoFundMe) so that the family could raise the $5,500 needed in legal fees to file two final legal proceedings with the AFSC and the Federal Court. Since his arrival in Canada, Mme Adegboye estimates he has paid more than $40,000 in legal costs.

“We have no savings,” says the mother who continues to work every evening, six days a week, in addition to taking French courses. Not even to pay for a single brick of a house in Nigeria. »


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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