Susanne Nunugo, the widow of a senior staff in the Ministry of Defence, Desmond, who reportedly died in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has accused the anti-graft agency of killing her husband and labeling him a criminal so as to tarnish his image.
According to Punch, the late Desmond was the Chief Protocol Officer in the Ministry before his untimely death just six hours after he was taken into the custody of the EFCC.
Narrating her plight on the demise of her husband, Sussane said:
“Around 3pm on June 9, my husband had gone to pick up our son from school and they both returned home. He later went out. Around 6pm, I called his line and it rang once. I tried his number several times later, but it was off.
The next morning, I got apprehensive when he didn’t come home. However, around 3.48pm, someone called me with his phone and said my husband was in the EFCC’s custody and I should come to bail him.
When I got to their office in Wuse, I was informed that being a woman, it would not be easy to secure his bail, not knowing he was already dead at the time they called me.
The EFCC called me to their office to come and bail my husband while he was already at the mortuary. I later received a phone call from a former colleague of mine that he had read the news online that my husband was arrested for fraud and he had died.
Shortly after leaving, the EFCC issued a press statement breaking the news of my husband’s death.
I was informed my husband’s arrest was as a result of a petition written against him by one Uloma, his business associate.
She (Uloma) told the EFCC that she met my husband on a flight in 2012 when he was on his way to the US where I went to give birth. She said my husband introduced her to a third party with whom she did a N91m transaction.
The EFCC is to be blamed for my husband’s death and labelling him a fraudster. They must clear his name.”
A nephew of the late Desmond, Amaechi Ihezie said he was told by the officials of the EFCC that his uncle just slumped and died during interrogation. Ihezie added that the agency had denied the deceased bail even after it had been discovered that he did not receive any money from the transaction.
“The EFCC told me that before he died, he wrote a statement of four pages. They gave him his phone to make calls for about two hours and then nobody came to bail him and so they said they transferred him to their head office and that a few hours later, he started to complain of discomfort and slumped. They said he was rushed to the hospital and confirmed dead,” he added.
The family of the deceased through its lawyer, has, however, petition the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), alleging cover up by the agency.
In the petition, the lawyer, Paul Edeh, said the EFCC had released all those who were in detention with the late Desmond on the day he died, so that there would be no witnesses.
“The EFCC has blatantly refused that a post-mortem examination should be carried out on the body so as not to be indicted. This may have been the reason why more than two months after Desmond’s death, no move has been made to carry out an autopsy.
After many visits by our clients to the EFCC and the police, both agencies have maintained that Desmond died a natural death. One, therefore, wonders how both the police and the EFCC could come up with such a common position in the absence of a medical examination to determine the cause of death.”
The spokesperson of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, has exonorated the agency of complicity in the death of the victim, insisting her he had fraudulently obtained N91 million from an acquaintance after he tricked her into believing that he had high net worth business associates in Dubai who were on the verge of buying NICON Insurance, and convinced her of their disposition to help her stock fish business.
“After the transfer of the funds, he became evasive, forcing the complainant to report to the EFCC. Consequently, he was arrested in Utako, Abuja, at about 5.33pm on Thursday, June 9, 2016.
He admitted to receiving the money from the complainant, with the additional information that he transferred N30 million of the said money to Norway. But he could not explain the whereabouts of the balance of N61 million.
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.”