Death in EFCC custody must be investigated – AI

Eight months after the death of Desmond Nunugwo in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Amnesty International (AI) has again called on the Federal Government to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the cause of death.
The deceased, who was until his death, chief protocol officer in the office of the minister of state for defence, died in the custody of the EFCC on June 9, 2016, having been arrested at the office of his former lawyer, sequel to a petition written by one Uloma, his business associate with whom he did a N91 million transaction, even though it was discovered that the deceased did not receive any money from the transaction.
Ikubaje Esther, campaigner for AI, while receiving a protest letter from family of the deceased when it embarked on a peaceful protect to the international body, said they had written another letter to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to know why the body still remains in the morgue, without autopsy been conducted.
“All we are calling for is Justice because we believe every human being deserves justice. We are calling for a thorough and transparent investigation into the issue. We will not go to sleep until justice is gotten.
“Mr Desmond’s case will not go down the drain, and this will be made to serve as a deterrent to others,” she assured.
In a protest letter signed by Raw Gold partners, legal representative to Nunugwo, the Nigerian Police that was mandated by the AGF to investigate the murder of Desmond, have continued to play “ping pong” with the matter by tossing the family around.
“Till date, nothing has been heard from the DSS, which was equally mandated to investigate the murder of Desmond along with the Nigerian Police. It is noted that the continued delay in concluding the investigation of this matter by all government agencies responsible for unravelling the truth, confirms the concerns expressed by the family, when the AGF granted them audience on August 15, 2016.
“We have been to the office of the AGF, Force CIID and the National Hospital many times, in a bid to bring this matter to a close to enable our clients get justice, however, the story seems to be the same. In the office of the AGF, where we first lodged complain requesting for an independent investigation into the matter, we were assured by the AGF that the matter will be dealt with, however, we were returned back to the police.
“At the Force CIID, we have been told repeatedly that the investigation has been concluded and that they have been told repeatedly that the investigation has been concluded, and they were only waiting for autopsy to be conducted. We were also informed that they had written to EFCC to seek their consent to have John Obafunwa, to conduct the autopsy in line with the earlier decision of the National Hospital to invite him to carry out the autopsy and toxicology.
“Meanwhile, the management of the National Hospital are insisting that Sahid Amin, the head of histopathology should conduct the autopsy as against the earlier invitation extended to Obafunwa, to conduct the autopsy and toxicology since June 2016 having agreed to conduct it on July 9, 2016.
“We were reliably informed that the EFCC in connivance with the authority of the National Hospital frustrated that move. We were reliably informed, and we believe same to be correct that Amin and M. A. Halilu, the Head of Medicals of the EFCC are blossom friends.
“We are constrained to note that inspite of all the efforts we have made to get justice for our client, it appears that someone is bent on sweeping this case under the bushel to perpetuate the fact that there is no justice for the dead in Nigeria”.
Meanwhile, when BusinessDay asked a very reliable source in EFCC about the circumstances surrounding the delay of the autopsy, the source who is a senior official became evasive, asking our reporter to go to the National Hospital to verify the claims.
However, a source at the National Hospital informed BusinessDay that, the family had agreed to allow Obafunwa conduct the autopsy even when he was invited without their own consent, but a fee of N4million is being demanded, and the Federal Government is not willing to for, which has led to the family seeking help from anywhere just to get the autopsy conducted.

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