• He complained of discomfort six hours after arrest
“AROUND 3:00p.m. on Thursday, June 9, 2016, my husband went to pick our son from school and they both returned home. He then said he was going out. Around 6:00p.m., I called him and the phone rang once but he didn’t pick. I tried the second time but the line never went through anymore.“I felt, maybe, he was catching his fun with friends and would return late. Death was the last thing on my mind. The next morning, I got apprehensive when he didn’t come home.
“However, around 3:48p.m. the next day, I received a call from his phone, but when I picked it, a man who identified himself as an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detective said my husband was in their custody and I should come and bail him. It was later I discovered my husband had already died more than 10 hours earlier.”
The above is the narrative of sorrow-stricken Susan Nunugwo, wife of the late Desmond Nunugwo, who was said to have died in the custody of the EFCC in Abuja. The Nunugwo family has through their lawyer, Paul Edeh, Principal Partner at Raw Gold Partners, petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation /Minister of Justice and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, seeking justice over the mysterious death of Desmond.
Among other things, the family is seeking a complete review of what it described as the “crude method of arrest, investigation, and detention of innocent citizens often adopted by EFCC against the principle of natural justice and laid down procedures.”The family also wants the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to be directed to resign his position.
“He is no longer fit to lead a commission that cannot protect the sanctity of life under his watch,” a copy of the petition given to The Guardian noted.But EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, insists that Desmond Nunugwu was being investigated for allegedly defrauding an unsuspecting victim to the tune of N91 million.
“Consequently, Nunugwo was arrested in Utako, Abuja at 5:33p.m. The suspect was detained at 7:30p.m., in the absence of anybody to take him on bail. Six hours later, he suddenly complained of discomfort and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.“The incident has already been reported at the Wuse Police Station, where the investigation into the cause of the sudden death has commenced.”
This explanation is raising some doubts with Desmond’s family, who are picking holes in the commission’s assertion.According to the deceased’s wife, “the EFCC called me to their office to come and bail my husband while he was already in the mortuary. They said as a woman I could not bail my husband, that I should go and bring a man. All this while, my husband was already in the mortuary. It was later that I received a phone call from a former colleague of mine, who told me that he had read the news online that my husband was arrested for fraud and had died in EFCC custody.”
She said a woman by the name of Uloma wrote a controversial petition to the EFCC ,which the commission was yet to investigate before her husband was arrested.She wants the commission to clear her husband of the fraud tag since no investigation had been concluded on the matter. “We were married for six years and he had no health challenges.
He was a very honest man, a man of integrity. He was the Chief Protocol Officer for the Minister of State for Defence but was not living an ostentatious lifestyle. He was very contented.
“So, when the story of him being a fraudster came out, it was very painful and humiliating. He was the only male child of his family. I am not working and many people depended on him for survival. I don’t want my little son to be labeled the son of a criminal. I want his name to be cleared because he was not a fraudster.”
In the petition entitled ‘Demand for justice over the death/murder of Mr. Desmond Nunugwo, the family called for thorough investigations into the matter.The letter was copied to the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission and the President of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.