Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s attorney general and minister of justice, has said he would constitute an independent inquiry into how a former chief protocol officer to the minister of State for Defence, Mr. Desmond Nunugwo, died in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
On Monday, August 15, 2016, it was reported that Nunugwo died on Tuesday, June 9, 2016, barely six hours after he was arrested by the EFCC for his alleged role in a N91m fraud.
The family of the deceased had, however, denied the allegation, insisting that he was arrested unjustly, Punch reports.
The family’s lawyer, Mr. Paul Edeh, led relatives of the victim to the ministry of justice on Monday where Malami commiserate with them.
Malami described the civil servant’s death as a big loss as he had served meritoriously under four former ministers.
“I will give direction for investigations to commence immediately. I will also demand explanations from the EFCC to furnish me with the details of the case. It is the responsibility of every government agency to protect the sanctity of lives. As the chief law officer of the country, I will not compromise investigations,” Malami said.
Nunugwo’s widow, Susanne, who thanked the minister for his concern, narrated how her husband was arrested without the knowledge of relatives, saying he was held incommunicado for several hours.
She lamented that she had not been able to see the corpse of her husband since his death two months ago.
Susanne also requested that her husband’s name be cleared as he had been declared guilty by the EFCC and was no longer alive to defend himself.
In his response, the minister said he would speak with the relevant authorities that the family be given unfettered access to the corpse.
The family lawyer, Edeh, urged the minister to ensure that the investigations were thorough and comprehensive, adding that those responsible for Desmond Nunugwo’s death should be punished.