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April 16, 2024

Kinsmen protest death of Air Force cadet in hotel as Abia govt vows to investigate

Kinsmen protest death of Air Force cadet in hotel as Abia govt vows to investigate

By Steve Oko

Protest, Tuesday, rocked Umuahia, the Abia State capital, as the Okwuta Ibeku kinsmen of the Air Force cadet, Emmanuel Onyemereche, who allegedly drowned in a swimming pool of Damgrete Hotel, last week, demanded justice for their deceased son.

Decked in black attires the protesters  chanted  sorrowful songs and carried placards with various inscriptions such as:”We need justice for our son”; ” Government should fish out killers of our son”, etc.

The protesters comprising youths, men and women marched through major streets before converging at the entrance gate to Government House Umuahia, urging Gov. Alex Otti, to wade.

They demanded immediate and thorough investigation to unravel what actually happened to their son, saying they were not convinced with the various versions of how he allegedly died.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters,  the Public Relations Officer of Okwuta -Isieke Autonomous Community, Mr Chibuzor Onwukamuche; Head of the family , Prince James Onyeomereneche and the woman leader, Mrs Happiness Ebere said that they came to register their grievances to the Governor over  the death of their son ,who would have been commissioned by July this year.

They said that they did not believe that the deceased  with his training as an upcoming Naval Officer could have drowned in an  ordinary swimming pool.

They accused the deceased’s friend, one Valentine Okpechi and the hotel Management of complexity.

The Community Spokespersons regretted that the death of their son “is a huge loss to the entire community.”

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Responding, Governor Alex Otti, expressed sadness over the incident, and vowed that the State Government would not allow the matter to be swept under the carpet.

The Governor who was represented by his  Special Adviser on Security Matters, Navy Commander Macdonald Uba (Rtd.) assured that investigations would be thoroughly carried out to unravel the cause of the death.

Otti vowed that whoever that was found culpable would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The Governor who described the incident as unfortunate, condoled  with the deceased’s immediate family and entire people of Okwuta -Ibeku over the death.

He, however,  commended the protesters for not taking laws into their hands, and urged them to remain law abiding, assuring that the outcome of the investigation would be made known to  them.

” It is unfortunate that a cadet officer of the Nigeria Defence Academy was found dead in a swimming pool in Damgrate. We know how much it takes the federal government to train one cadet officer.

“We have listened to your complaints. And we will take measures to brief His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Abia State on the matter. Whatever has happened has happened. We leave  it to God but proper investigation will be carried out to ensure that if there were perpetrators of this act,  it will be unraveled.

” This incident has caused other ripple effects thereafter. We will thoroughly investigate the matter, at the end of the day justice will be served. I know how you feel. I was once a cadet, and I know how it would have been for my village if something like this happened.

” I enjoin you to remain law abiding until we revert the outcome of the investigations, including the death of the manager of the hotel. We will investigate all these things and get back to you.”

Recall that the owner of the hotel, Dr Steve Ihedigbo, had on Saturday, also demanded justice for the deceased and his Food and Beverage Manager, James Etubi, who was allegedly tortured to death by solders at Army base in Umuahia.

The Army was said to have invited the late Etubi and other staff of the hotel for interrogation over the death of the Air Force cadet, and afterwards, allegedly subjected them to torture, leading to the death of the 48-year old who was recruited barely a week to his tragic death.

Ihedigbo had claimed that there was nothing to suggest that the late cadet was drowned in a pool as his tummy was very flat when he was eventually brought out of the pool.

Calling for a thorough investigation of the colleague of the late cadet who came with him to the hotel , Ihedigbo  promised to sponsor the autopsy test to find out the actual cause of the death.

Meanwhile, the Army Authorities had since condemned the unprofessional conduct of the soldiers who allegedly tortured the hotel staff to death.

Army Spokesman, Major Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement, said the Chief of Army Staff, had ordered immediate investigation into the matter.