MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The family of a 29-year-old man; Kenneth Ike Ayogu, a patent medicine dealer at Narayi in Chikun Local Governmen Area of Kaduna State has raised issues with officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), over the death of their son while in the Agency’s custody.
The family has alleged that Ayogu was tortured to death inside their cell after he was arrested on October 13th, 2022 for being in possession of Pentazocine injection.
Spokesman of the family, Michael Ayogu (50), a wine dealer also in Kaduna state lamented that even after his brother’s death under their custody, all efforts the family has made for autopsy to be carried out have been thwarted by both the police and NDLEA thereby worsening their sorrow.
Giving details of the ugly incident that led to the untimely death of his brother, 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 being in possession of 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 refused 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 petitioned through our lawyer, Casmir Ugwoke Esq to the Commissioner of Police in Kaduna state requesting for thorough investigation into the brutal and sudden death of our brother. We also called for autopsy examination to be conducted on the corpse to ascertain what led to his death but both the police and NDLEA have remained adamant to our pleas.
“We also petitioned NDLEA over the issue but they refused to respond to our plight and rather ceased the lifeless body of our son who was just settled last four years after his apprenticeship and he started his legitimate business in earnest.
“When we met with the police officer in charge of homicide section, they invited NDLEA but they did not respond. We then met the pathologist in charge of the autopsy section but the doctor said he could not 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 loosing the bread winner 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 dependants,?” he lamented in tears.
When contacted, spokesperson of NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said “the late Kenneth was arrested along with his brother and a neighbor over drug offences. They were all in the same cell until he took ill. He was promptly taken to the hospital where he later died. If indeed he was tortured by anyone, his brother and neighbor who were with him in the cell till 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 autopsy to be conducted to ascertain the cause of 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 could not be basis for non release of the corpse.”