Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative
A Canadian truck driver who took pity on a Nigerian family trying to get across the border has been given an absolute discharge after failing to immediately tell border guards of their presence in his truck.
In Oct. 2020, Hannington Kogo of Calgary was about to cross from Port Huron into Sarnia on the Bluewater Bridge. A family approached him asking if he would take them over the bridge so they could claim asylum. With two children crying, Kogo took pity on them and invited them into his cab. He would take them over the border for free.
Kogo, the crown said, felt a connection to the family from Nigeria. He had come to Canada from Kenya 20 years earlier.
As they drove into the Canada Customs lanes, Kogo didn’t tell customs officiers about the family in the bunk of his cab.
He did tell agents about the family as he pulled into the secondary inspection area. That delay led customs officials to charge Kogo under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Justice Deborah Austin, who heard the case March 4, called this “unique and unusual” noting it wasn’t human smuggling. Withholding the information, she said, was a “technical breach of the rules.
“I don’t want to trivialize this matter” said Austin in giving him an absolute discharge. Truck drivers must provide information to the Canadian Border Services at the earliest opportunity when crossing the border. Kogo will be under more scrutiny by the border services due to this charge being laid. Austin said that was enough supervision for him and probation was not necessary.