Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen spoke at venue known as criminal hangout

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen spoke at venue known as criminal hangout

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen provided a briefing to members of the African-Canadian community at a Toronto barbecue establishment but the department hadn’t advised him that court documents have identified it as a known hangout for members of the notorious Black Axe criminal syndicate.

The owner of the The Suya Spot restaurant has denied any affiliation with the Nigerian-based criminal organization that has set up operations in Toronto and Vancouver.

Mr. Hussen’s spokesperson said the minister was unaware that The Suya Spot, located just outside his York South-Weston riding, has been frequented by members of the Neo Black Movement – also known as the Black Axe organized-crime group.

Police say Black Axe has been exerting growing influence over the Nigerian diaspora in Canada as well as engaging in organized crime – everything from fraud, money laundering and intimidation.

Press secretary Mathieu Genest confirmed the Immigration Minister went to the The Suya Spot restaurant on March 30 to speak about the risk of Nigerians trying to cross illegally into Canada from the United States. The majority of people entering Canada between legal border crossings in 2018 have been Nigerians carrying valid U.S. travel visas.

“This was a 20-person event at a local African restaurant where he would have an opportunity to connect to a very specific group we have been reaching out to in the context of the irregular migration phenomenon,” Mr. Genest said in an interview. “Whether the restaurant was or wasn’t linked to criminal activities, we were not aware of anything.”

He stressed the owner of The Suya Spot did not host the event, although the restaurant did post pictures of Mr. Hussen on its Instagram page and declared ”Honourable Ahmed Hussen Minister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizens of Canada is officially Suyarized.“

Mr. Genest said no one in either the minister’s office or the Immigration department checked to see whether the venue should be a place to avoid. He said it was too much trouble to check out possible links to criminal activity.

“Keep in mind that the minister does like 10 events a day on weekends,” Mr. Genest said. “Do we google every restaurant that the minister gets invited to speak to? We do not.”

Mr. Genest said the minister would avoid going to the restaurant if he is invited again.

Full article: The Globe and Mail