Family tackles Police over death of man in detention
The family members of Godwin Chukwudi Julius, who died under detention by the Nigeria Police’s State Criminal Intelligence Investigation Department, SCIID, Panti, Lagos, are asking for an explanation on his death.
The spokesman for the family, Mr Nnamdi Akano, said the late Julius, despite obvious signs of serious illness and complaints, was denied medical help until it was too late, noting that the police should not have denied his brother medical help.
“He ought to have been given or allowed medical help and then face whatever charges the police have against him. He was an importer, a breadwinner for his family with a wife and four children that are now left to bemoan the crude fate that befell them and a future without their beloved father,” he said.
Obinali Osunwoke, an eye witness as the ill-fated drama unfold, said: “ I was arrested a day after my brother, Julius, and I was with him throughout his detention until he died.
“I was picked up on Saturday, May 23. From the first day, we were arrested and our people came to bail us, the police refused to grant us bail.
“The case was directly under ASP Oketunji. My people went and requested bail for us while the police continued with their investigations. He refused, so they approached Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Longe, who is the head of Panti Unit.
“When they met the woman, she said she could not do anything and that the police should be allowed to do their work. That was how we were detained.”
While noting that they were put in a crowded cell, Osunwoke said “my brother had been complaining of not being strong to our Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Mr Adebowale.
“To be honest with you here, the IPO, as a human being, was very good to us. He did everything he could. When we talked about drugs, because Julius was hypertensive, the IPO will go and bring them.”
He regretted that despite all recommendations of medical personnel at the Police Clinic that the bother should be released, he was not released before he died at Yaba Military Hospital.
“When we got there, it took about one hour to get his details. It was not treated as an emergency. This was between 10:30 am and 11:00 am.
“My brother was breathing with difficulty and sweating profusely. They went and brought an oxygen tank, and put an oxygen mask on his nose. He took a deep breath, slumped, and died. The doctor tried to resuscitate him, but later was saying there was no life. “
“After some time, they came again removed the face mask and brought something like cotton wool, opened his mouth, they pushed the long thing and brought it out. They also asked me to open his nose. I told them that nobody should come and tell me that he is COVID-19 positive, he is not.”
But, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr Elkanah Bala, said Julius was detained on court order for his complicity in a fraudulent transaction, but he took ill and died.
‘From the brief, I got (from SCID), he was detained on a court order on the allegations of using federal government documents to defraud an international organisation.
“He took ill in custody and was referred to an isolation centre for Covid19 patients at Yaba, where he died.