Four eye witnesses to the death of a suspect in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cell, Desmond Nunugwo, have opened up on his last moments.
Nunugwo, a former Chief Protocol Officer in the Ministry of Defence, was arrested by some officers of the Intelligence and Special Operations Section (ISOS) of the EFCC on June 9 at about 5.30pm.
He was picked up for allegedly defrauding one Oleh Nnana Kalu of N63, 600,00.00.
His death sparked accusations and petitions to the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Assembly and Amnesty International seeking a probe.
The police were brought in and as a first step, questioned some of Nunugwo’s cell mates who witnessed how he died.
One of them, Odeh Onoja Jnr., according to an official document, said: “I reported to the EFCC office on the 9th of June, 2016 in response to the invitation sent to my office to have a chat with me.
I was still in the office when the man (Nunugwo) was brought in. The officers obtained his statement after which both of us were conveyed together to their head office for detention.
“We were checked in about 9.30pm and the ‘president’ (of the cell) welcomed us after which he gave us our respective places to sleep”.
A second eye witness, Omelu Charles, in his statement to the EFCC said: “Desmond Nunugwo came into the EFCC cell around 7 and 8pm at night. He introduced himself as the rule of the cell is so that everybody will know you.
“They showed him round the cell and gave him a word of hope that all is well. Mr. Desmond was called for prayers as we all were about to say our night prayer for which he was asked to raise a worship song which he did.”
However, Omelu said he observed that Nunugwo was restless and anxious to see his wife and he tried to calm him down.
Omelu said: “I told him to wait till tomorrow, that all will be fine. I went to sleep, and he told me good night. While I was sleeping, somebody held my hand and I woke up and it was Desmond who was asking me to help him, that he was innocent, that all he did was to connect two people for business.
“So I stood up and held him, both of us walked towards the ‘president’ of the cell and his breathing was not okay as the president tried telling him to cool down that all is well. Mr. Desmond fell but I was able to hold him before we now took him outside.”
Another cell mate, Dayo Jimoh said he observed that the deceased could not sleep and at a point begged him for some of his high blood pressure and diabetes pills.
Dayo said: “After the prayer, I came out to collect my BP and diabetes drugs, he came to me and asked if I could give him out of the drugs. I told him I cannot because I am not a doctor and that the EFCC has a hospital here; he could go to the guard and request for them to take him to the hospital.
“He then told me that he has his own drugs at home, if he could call his wife to bring it, but unfortunately, his investigative officer went away with his phone and that he could not use anybody’s phone to call, that is the rule with the cell guard.
“I felt bad because there (was) no way I could help him because I was also very sick that day. I then advised him to go and take his shower and rest, maybe he will be okay, but I saw him moving from his bed space to the bathroom more than necessary because I was awake too, I was in pain with my chest.
“Around 1am he called one Mr. Charles, a suspect too, and others that he is not feeling fine at all. I couldn’t get up because I cannot help at that time. He collapsed, others rushed him and called cell guard, I knew he could not make it because his tongue was coming out”
The document gave a synopsis of how the deceased staff of the Ministry of Defence was arrested and detained pending when he will perfect his bail terms.
According to the record: “Nunugwo was picked up by officers of the Intelligence and Special Operations Section (ISOS) of the EFCC following a complaint that he had allegedly defrauded one Ole Nnana Kalu to the tune of N63, 600,00.00.
He was arrested at Jabi, Abuja, at about 5,30pm and brought to the Wuse 2 office of the Unit for interrogation, which lasted for less than two hours.