No end to Nigerian's death mystery as Africans, cops stick to their guns

No end to Nigerian's death mystery as Africans, cops stick to their guns

No end to Nigerian's death mystery as Africans, cops stick to their guns

The death of Nigerian national, Ifeanyi Madu alias Nwa Jesus, near Byrathi in eastern Bengaluru on March 13 has raised several questions in the minds of fellow Nigerians as well as Africans living in the city.

While police insist that Madu, in his early 30s, died after falling from a speeding motorcycle, Africans suspect that he was “murdered in cold blood”.

An eyewitness, who does not want to be named, recalled seeing plain-clothes men and an African national get into fisticuffs that night. The African was then bundled into a police jeep. He punched the rear windscreen of the jeep and broke it.

A 24-year-old Nigerian, who said he was riding the motorbike with Madu on the pillion, told DH that 40-50 cane-wielding men in plain clothes “accosted” their two-wheeler near Green Supermarket, off Byrathi Cross, around 10 pm. “There was no accident, I had just pulled in to allow other vehicles to pass. But the men surrounded us. I managed to run away by throwing a hollow brick at them but they pinned my friend down. The last time I saw him he was alive and fighting with them.”

But police version is substantially different. This is what happened, according to a senior police officer:

A four-member CCB team — an inspector, three head constables and a constable — was near Green Supermarket, looking out for drug peddlers as Byrathi is a haven for them.
There was no plan of catching anybody. “A short while later, a motorbike with two Africans on it rode up. But as soon as they saw the police jeep, they accelerated it. The motorbike hit a road cut and the men fell off. One of them managed to flee from the spot before we could reach there. There was a slipper at the spot, scratches on the road and the vehicle’s fuel had spilled over,” the officer said. “The so-called friend left him to die and fled from the spot.”

Police then took Madu to Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.

Here are the questions raised by Bosco Kaweesi, legal advisor to All African Students’ Association, Bengaluru, and the police response provided by the senior officer:

a) Let’s assume it was a road accident, but why did police take him to Bowring Hospital which is 11 kilometres away, while BR Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, Tannery Road, is just seven kilometres away?
Police: If plain-clothes policemen had taken him to the nearby BR Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, they had to foot the medical bill. But since Bowring Hospital is a government hospital, they don’t have to pay there.

b) Except for two injuries, one on the back of the head and another on the face above the eye, the victim has no other injuries at all. When a person falls from a speeding motorbike, he usually sustains bruises or scratches on his limbs, and his clothes would be torn, which would indicate that it was an accident, but that its not the case here.
Police: We will not be able to comment about injuries as the body is yet to be identified and the post-mortem is yet to be conducted. It will raise a lot of unwarranted questions or suspicion if we go to the mortuary and check for injuries on the body.

c) Even if the victim was a drug peddler or drug abuser, how did he die? Let’s assume they saw the police jeep and he started to speed, but could a mere fall from the motorbike in an alley kill a man? Was the motorbike’s speed over 100 kilometres per hour to cause the death?
Police: If they (Africans) are certain that it was murder, why don’t they come forward with a complaint that the man was killed or he died in police custody? There are several forums to address such grievances. But they are interested only in speaking to the media and stereotyping the matter. It has been four days since the incident, but we have no official record to ascertain the identity of the deceased. Neither fellow Africans nor the staff of the Nigerian high commission are willing to identify the victim and kick-start legal formalities.

DH News Service

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