A 29-year-old South Sudanese man told officials he wasn’t lying when he allegedly posed as a teenager to attend high school in Canada — he just didn’t know his real age.
Wearing a loose orange jumpsuit, Jonathan Elia Nicola, who has been held by immigration since April 15, attended a brief detention hearing in Windsor on Tuesday and was ordered to remain in custody because he was considered a flight risk.
He did not provide further testimony at the hearing, but at an earlier detention review, the 6-foot-9 Nicola, who was enrolled in Grade 11 and played basketball on his Windsor high school team, said he did not know how old he really was because his mother kept telling him different ages.
“I aways keep asking what is the specific age that I was born, and she has told me that she could not remember,” he told the April 19 hearing.
“Over (in South Sudan) . . . not every year we study . . . we always keep moving to different schools, and over there, they do not ask your age. They do not ask you nothing,” Nicola said.
All he wanted, he told officials, was to get a good education in Canada so he could support his family back home.
“I am not a liar person. I am religious. I pray to God . . . If something bad happen to me here, I do not know what would happen to my mother back home because she is really sick. She has diabetes,” Nicola said.