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EFCC suspect dies in prison custody

EFCC-Acting-Chairman-Mr-Ibrahim-Lamorde-360x270A detained suspect identified as Alhaji Suleiman Yerima, who is foreign exchange dealer and businessman, remanded at the Maximum Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos, has died after slumping at the mosque. Yerima died exactly three weeks after he was transferred and remanded to the prison pending court judgment on his case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ThisDay reports
His ordeal started about three months ago after he was arrested and detained by the commission over a N120 million forex deal that went awry.
After the news of his death was broken to his family, they reportedly refused to accept the corpse until the prisons service satisfactorily explains why and how he died.
An impeccable source who spoke on account of anonymity said the deceased died on Eid-el-Fitr day at the prisons mosque while prayers were going on.
He said: “On the day he died, he was hale and hearty. In fact, he had happily strolled down to the mosque inside the prisons to pray with other Muslim faithful.
“While prayers were going on, he suddenly slumped but the prison officials did not attend to him. They just left him there without rushing him to the clinic for medical attention.
“The other inmates didn’t even have an inkling as to what happened because they were praying. The people that noticed were the wardens whose job is to monitor the inmates.
“It was after prayers that the other inmates who noticed that Alhaji did not get up, rushed to him but he was already dead by then.”
The source further said: “Although I cannot tell you the cause of his death, however I can tell you that Alhaji has been crying out that EFCC and some other powerful persons want him dead.
“As I am speaking to you now, his family has rejected attempts by the prisons service to foist the corpse on them for burial.
“This is because the testimony they got from other inmates was contrary to the claims by the prisons service that Alhaji was sick and was taken to the sickbay, where he died.”
Recall that his ordeal began on March 3, 2015, when EFCC invited him in connection to a petition written against him and his friend,
one Uwem Antia, by the duo of Denis Ale and Mrs. Gladys Aginwa.
Before his remand and subsequent death, the deceased had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, to intervene in his case.
In his petition, he had stated that the commission and the police had detained him for 80 days alongside Antia, whom he claimed was blindfolded and beaten.
Prior to his demise, the duo had filed separate suits against EFCC, both before Justice Okon Abang, challenging their arrest and detention.
While Antia, through his lawyer, Mr. Kabir Akingbolu, appealed to the court to declare his ordeal in EFCC detention illegal with payment of N100 million as damages, Yerima sought for restriction against the commission.
EFCC, in a counter-affidavit, had however denied the allegation, stating that the criminal petition against Antia was that he allegedly defrauded the petitioner of the sum of N672,750,000, which he admitted to.
Attempts to confirm the story from the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) national spokesperson, Francis Enobore, proved abortive as at press time.
When the newspaper contacted, EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspect did not die in their custody.
He said: “He was remanded in prison custody by the court because the court has not delivered judgment yet. He was in prison custody and not ours.”
When asked the next step the commission would take as regarding the remaining suspect, he said the court would determine that.

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