Monday, May 30, 2011

Late unidentified Nigerian for burial in Cotonou, Wed

Late unidentified Nigerian for burial Wed in Cotonou

The body of an unidentified Nigerian man, who died in Cotonou, Benin Republic; on Monday, 23 May will be buried on Wednesday. Following the victim’s transition, members of the Cotonou Chapter of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) had arranged to have the dead man’s photograph taken before his body was deposited at a local morgue.

Subsequently, NIDO Cotonou members had circulated the man’s picture for possible identification; and, had also sought advice and financial assistance from the Nigerian Embassy with a view to burying the victim in Cotonou, in the event that no one came forward to collect the dead man’s remains.

Thus far, no one has come forward to identify the deceased or claim his body; and, the late man’s corpse has been lying at Morgue de l’Hopital de la Mere et de l’Enfant, Lagune (HOMEL) in the Tokpa Hoho neighbourhood of Cotonou since the day he breathed his last. As a result, plans are at advanced stages to bury the victim in Cotonou next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Anambra State indigenes in Cotonou as well as the entire Igbo community and NIDO Cotonou Chapter are putting heads together with a view to raising funds to settle mortuary bills and for the burial. Nonetheless, the Nigerian community is also looking up to their country’s embassy in Cotonou for assistance.

According to Mr. Okezie I. Jonathan, personal assistant to NIDO Cotonou Chapter President, Chief Emmanuel Uko Elendu; it has emerged that the victim, who was thought to have died after being heavily drugged; actually passed a night at a Celestial Church roughly three streets away from where he reportedly slumped and was subsequently picked by personnel of the local emergency services, Safeur Pompier.

Investigations carried out by the local NIDO president’s office indicate an okada rider had phoned the local emergency services after he witnessed a man, earlier walking ahead of him; suddenly slump and lay on the ground convulsing. When emergency services personnel got to the scene, one of them had dialed the number from which a call was put to their office. The okada rider that had called Safeur Pompier was still in the crowd of onlookers gathered around the sick man; and, had stepped out to narrate what he had seen.

At the same spot, a member of the local congregation of a Celestial Church near La Roche roundabout had told Sapeur Pompier officials that the man had been seen in chains and bare-chested inside their house of worship the previous day. When contacted, church elders had confirmed the victim was on their premises Sunday till Monday, and that they had thought another member had brought the man there for spiritual healing.

They claimed that the man had kept mummuring, intermittently, uninteligible sentences in English and Igbo languages, while there. Aside his monologues, the man; they further alleged, had acted in ways that created fear. When, at the end of the evening’s service the bare-chested man was still roaming the premises; and, there was no sign that anybody was coming to take him away, he was consequently bound in chains to avoid a situation, where the perceived sick man could cause harm to other people.

Cele members further submitted that the victim had rejected a top to protect him from cold the previous night; and, that he had also turned down an offer of food from a female member that night. The following morning, seeing that nobody had come for the man and that his situation was worsening; and, fearful that they would be in trouble should the man die on their premises; church elders decided to send the fellow out of their compound.

It remains unclear how the sick man was ejected; and, questions would be asked why the Celestial Church leaders did not call in state health services since the man was ostensibly unwell. In any case, it is believed that the man slumped shortly after leaving the Celestial Church compound.

Curiously, too; instead of Safeur Pompier rescuers taking the sick man to a health centre, they had carried him to Missebo Market in search of NIDO Cotonou office. There, after a search; they had found a French-speaking Igbo youth, who led them to the office of the NIDO president. Promptly, this Igbo guide had fled to continue his business.

Through immediate moral and financial support from Chief Elendu, the incognito man had been rushed to Centre de Sante Al-Faycal (Al-Faycal Health Centre). Sadly, he had later died, while undergoing treatment there.

According to reliable sources, officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Cotonou had since been informed and briefed of ongoing developments. In response, the local Nigerian mission had since despatched memos to Abuja; and, copies of such letters had also been sent to relevant police divisional officers, Interpol and so on.


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