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We didn’t torture him to death – NDLEA

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor

The family of Kenneth Ike Ayogu, 29, a patent medicine dealer at Narayi in Chikun LGA, Kaduna state is raising an argument with officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, over the demise of their son while in their custody. They are claiming that he was tortured to death inside their cell after they found a pentazocine injection with him on October 13th, 2022.

 

A spokesman for the family, Michael Ayogu,  50, a wine dealer also in Kaduna state deplores that even after his brother’s demise under their custody, all the efforts the family is making for an autopsy to be carried out have been hindered by both the police and NDLEA thereby increasing their sorrow

 

Giving details of the ugly incident that led to the untimely death of his brother to reporters in Lagos, the wine dealer who hails from Amahor-Uwenu, Okpuje in Nsukka LGA of Enugu state said the deceased was in his shop when he was arrested by officials of NDLEA on October 13th, 2022 for owning pentazocine injection.

 

According to him,  on the 17th of October, 2022, when we got news of his arrest, we went to inquire about the circumstances that led to his arrest only to be told that he died in their custody on the 16th of October, 2022 and his body was deposited in the mortuary by men of NDLEA without even contacting any member of the family.

 

“When we applied to see the corpse in the mortuary, the officers declined us access with our cell phones to avoid taking photographs of the corpse but we observed that his face was covered with blood. We then filed a case through our lawyer, Casmir Ugwoke Esq to the Commissioner of Police in Kaduna state requesting a thorough investigation into the inhumane and untimely death of our brother. We also called for an autopsy examination to be conducted on the corpse to ascertain what led to his death but both the police and NDLEA have remained unresponsive to our pleas.

 

“We also petitioned NDLEA over the issue but they refused to respond to our plight and rather ceased the corpse of our son who was settled last four years after his apprenticeship.

 

“When we met with the police officer in charge of the homicide section, they invited NDLEA but they did not respond. We then met the pathologist in charge of the autopsy section the doctor said he can’t do anything until the corona form was filled and that the form cannot be signed by the magistrate until the picture of that lifeless body is attached to the corona form and we don’t have access to the corpse. So, we are confused and don’t know what to do or where to go further after losing the breadwinner of our family in such a gruesome manner.

 

“He is the first son amongst seven others and was the only person taking care of his aged father, mother and other members of the family and just see how life was snuffed out of him without trial. What becomes of all his dependents?” he lamented in tears.

 

We didn’t torture him – NDLEA

 

In his reaction, the spokesman of NDLEA, Femi Babafemi stated: “The late Kenneth was arrested alongside his brother and neighbour over drug offences. They were all in the same cell until he became ill. He was promptly taken to the hospital where he later died.

 

“If indeed he was tortured by anyone, his brother and neighbour who were with him in the cell till the day he was taken to the hospital for treatment would have known about it and in all the meetings between the family and the state command of the agency with the brother in attendance, there was no issue of torture mentioned.

 

“The family requested for an autopsy to be conducted to know the cause of his death and the process for that has been ongoing with correspondences between the family and the agency on the modalities for the autopsy. As such, there shouldn’t be the basis for holding back the corpse.”

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