By Ikechukwu Odu
Ifeoma Abugu, who was allegedly raped and murdered by personnel of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, while in detention at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, a fortnight ago was said to have been killed exactly five days after her introduction.
Recall that Abugu was arrested and whisked away from her new fiance’s apartment at Wumba village, Lokogoma, Abuja September 10, 2020, by suspected SARS personnel, only to be reported dead at the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, in the Federal Capital Territory, next day.
However, when Vanguard visited the deceased’s country home, in Ugbaike, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu, a community source, who pleaded anonymity disclosed that the deceased was trained at the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT, Enugu, by one Chidi Abugu, who also opened a business for her with the promise that they would get married after her National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, programme.
However, according to the source, things took a different turn when she was posted to Abuja for her youth service, she started a new relationship with one Afam, who hails from Anambra State and allegedly abandoned Abugu, who saw her through tertiary education.
Vanguard further gathered that the deceased had already started marriage counselling programme with her new lover and was billed for marriage by December before the cruel hands of fate caught up with her.
It was also learnt that Ugwunwa had already gone for marriage introduction to the family of his late lover four days before she was murdered.
Meanwhile, her mother, a widow, is yet to be informed of her daughter’s death.
While reacting to his sister’s death, her brother, who identified himself as Alex, said he dashed off to Abuja from Lagos when he heard the sad news.
According to him, “When I asked some of my uncles, who have been to the police station, they said the policemen claimed they met my sister unconscious on the bed and they rushed her to the hospital where she died.
“Her fiancee was not at home when she was arrested. He said he contacted someone he knew at the SARS office to help facilitate her release, but that the person was unable to do it that night. He said he gave the woman money the following day to help facilitate her release, only to be told that Ifeoma was dead.
“When my uncles saw the picture of her corpse, there were signs that she was sexually assaulted. We are waiting for the autopsy result to ascertain what happened to her.
SARS officers on illegal duty
Lawyer to the bereaved family, as reported by BBC Pidgin, stated that three of the operatives were discovered to be on illegal duty on that day, as they had no permission from their superior to carry out that operation.
But the operatives denied raping and killing Ifeoma. Rather, they reportedly told the bereaved family that she could have died of an overdose of cocaine.
They claimed rather that they found her dead in her lover’s apartment on the day they went to effect her arrest and decided to take her to a hospital in Maitama, where they were told there was no bed space.
They claimed to have immediately rushed her to the Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital for treatment where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.
But the family’s lawyer disagreed with the explanation, arguing that there was no labouratory scientists to confirm whether cocaine was found on her on not, adding that the police were only trying to bury the truth.
He, therefore, appealed to the Inspector-General of Police to ensure the matter was thoroughly investigated and the killers brought to book.
Meanwhile, the deceased’s elder brother, Alex Abugu, who is based in Lagos, said since he arrived in Abuja, the Police had not allowed him to see his sister’s corpse.
Abugu said he had never known his late sister to finish a bottle of alcoholic beverage, let alone being into hard drugs.
He revealed that investigations, including the autopsy, would cost the family about N600,000 and alleged that SARS officials initially requested half the amount from the family, until the intervention of the FCT Police in charge of the case, who said SARS would bear the entire cost.
Meanwhile, the three SARS officers, who carried out the operation, have been arrested and are currently being investigated.