Death in hotel swimming pool: Manager, four others arrested
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Calabar
CONTROVERSY now surrounds the alleged murder of master Wisdom Felix Edu, who until his death was a staff of Treasureland Hotels, Ediba Road, in Calabar Municipal Council of Cross River State. Curiously, the tree beside the swimming pool where his body was discovered was said to have ‘mysteriously’ withered within 24 hours after his death.
About five persons, including the manager of the hotel had been quizzed by the police over the incident but some of them were said to have been released after making their statements. Wisdom, as he was popularly known, was 19 years and a native of Adadama in Abi Local Government Area of the State. He lived at 4 Calabar Road, before his untimely and alleged gruesome murder on November 9, 2012.
Wisdom left for work on that fateful Friday without any inkling that it was going to be his final day on earth. A family source claimed that the corpse of the deceased was discovered early morning the next day by some naval officers who had lodged at the hotel.
It had a deep cut on the head. Mr. Icha Mbotor, a relation to the deceased, said he got the information about the death of Wisdom on Sunday morning when his sister, Ghada Francis Ekun, called him to break the sad news, informing that the corpse had been deposited at the Calabar General Hospital mortuary.
He said that when he got to the State Housing Police Station where the matter was reported, the story of Wisdom’s death was confirmed and that the picture taken by the police showed that the deceased had a deep cut on the head and a swollen mouth.
Mbotor said that Wisdom was wearing a wrist watch, his jean trousers and boxer, but minus his shirt and shoes. He added that Wisdom’s flat stomach in the ‘shallow’ swimming pool which was about eight meters deep did not suggest he drowned.
He said: “Reaching the mortuary, we discovered that what we saw on the picture were real. The hotel staff claimed that he drowned, but from our observation, he was killed and thrown into the pool.” He also alleged that when the navy personnel, who allegedly saw Wisdom’s corpse, drew attention to it, the hotel management allegedly claimed not to know the person and alerted the police.
“When we went to see the management, we were dismissed and they told us that the Police were waiting for us. But getting to the State Housing Police Station, the DPO was not around and nobody connected to the case was seen, so we called the DPO who later came around 3pm on that Sunday; we got there about 8am.
Our suspicion is that he was killed. If he had gone to swim, there should not have been cuts on his head and his hands would not have folded. He was killed and thrown into the pool. He had complained the week before he died that he was no longer comfortable working there.
“The fact that they did not deem it necessary to contact the family of the deceased is suspicious and we strongly feel that the management have something to hide and given the standard of the hotel, there should be security officers around the hotel. A staff told us that there is a tree by the swimming pool of the hotel, but on the evening of the Sunday, the tree withered.”
The manager of the hotel, Mr. Mendie Udoh, described what happened as a natural death and that police were still investigating it to know exactly what led to the death of the staff. He said: “The incident that happened is just a natural death. Police are still investigating it. I may not know the cause but police have gone for autopsy.”
On the tree that allegedly withered a day after the incident, he said: “That incident happened and the leaves all fell down”. When asked what could have caused it, he said that he was not a spiritualist to know, adding, however, that the development did not scare other staff as work was going on smoothly.
He alleged that even the staff knew that the deceased caused what happened to him, as he was on morning shift that particular day while the incident took place in the night. He said: “When I saw him in the night, I asked why he was still around.
Celebration of friend’s birthday
“He said that his friend was celebrating his birthday and that he was called to come and play music for them with the celebrant’s laptop. The event finished about 2am without any untoward incident. Three staff are being held. I went and reported the matter to the police who came and took the corpse to the mortuary. I was detained and later released.”
Meanwhile it was gathered that the autopsy carried out by the police showed the deceased had a deep cut which allegedly indicated that he may have been murdered.
But the State Police Public Relations Officer of the, DSP John Umoh, said that investigations were ongoing and that it was not proper to release information on the autopsy, adding that giving out the result of the autopsy was a way of drawing conclusion on the matter.