The family of one Desmond Nunugwo, the Chief Protocol Officer to the Minister of State for Defence who died while in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said the agency should take responsibility for his death.
The EFCC has however dissociated itself from his death.
Desmond’s wife, Susanne and the family lawyer, Paul Edeh, told Daily Trust in Abuja yesterday that they believed that the EFCC was responsible for his death because he was not ill or diagnosed of any known sickness before being taken into custody.
Edeh said the family was submitting a petition against the EFCC to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to demand justice.
He said the police was no longer fit to continue with the investigation into the matter, having allegedly been compromised by acting out a script written and directed by the EFCC.
Edeh also said a fresh and independent investigation should be carried out by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation into the death. He said the family was demanding that an autopsy be carried out by a world renowned medical expert to be recommended by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to ascertain the true cause of death. He said the family wants the corpse of Desmond to be released to the family upon conclusion of investigation for a befitting burial.
On June 9, 2016, Desmond was picked up by operatives of the EFCC at the office of a lawyer friend, Mr. E.U Chinedum, of Evaruth Solicitors & Notary Public around 5.30pm. Chinedum was said to have attempted to follow his friend to the EFCC but was told to come to their office later. However, Desmond died six hours later.
Susanne told reporters recently in Abuja that the EFCC called her to their office to bail her husband while he was already in the mortuary.
"They said as a woman I could not bail my husband and 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 who told me that he had read the news online that my husband was arrested for fraud and had died in EFCC custody.”
The widow said she was informed that her husband’s arrest was through a petition written by one Uloma, a business associate.
The spokesman of the EFCC Wilson Uwujaren had said in a statement that Desmond fraudulently obtained N91m from an acquaintance after he tricked her into believing that he had high network business associates in Dubai, UAE who were on the verge of buying Nicon Insurance and convinced her of their disposition to help her stock fish business.
He said consequently, she wired N91m into Nunugwo’s nominated account (Mainagge General Merchants) in Diamond Bank.
“After the transfer of the fund, he became evasive, forcing the complainant to report the transaction to the EFCC. Consequently, he was arrested in Utako, Abuja at about 5.33pm on Thursday, June 9, 2016."
“His statement was taken, where he admitted receiving the money from the complainant, with the additional information that he transferred N30m of the said money to Norway. But he could not explain the whereabouts of the balance of N61m.
“The suspect was detained at about 7.30pm 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," EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said.
He said the commission does not torture detainees, maintaining that Desmond suddenly fell ill and died. He said the matter was reported to the police and is now subject of investigation. FCT Police Command spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, said he was not aware of the case but promised to get back to Daily Trust with the details as soon as possible.