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FCT panel to Police: Release victim’s corpse to family for proper burial

The release of Ifeoma Abugu’s corpse to her family for proper burial has been ordered by the Abuja judicial panel established to probe brutality and human rights abuses of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

Recall that the deceased, Abugu was arrested by SARS officials in her fiance’s house at Wumba village near Lokogoma area, Abuja, on September 10, 2020, four days after her introduction ceremony.

The officers who arrested Abugu alleged that her fiancee, Afam Ugwunwa was a drug dealer and when he was not found at his residence, Abugu was apprehended.

The police on September 11 claimed that Abugu died of drug overdose.

However, on Wednesday, Ahmed Abimiku, chief consultant pathologist of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada (UATH), who appeared following a summons, told the judicial panel led by Suleiman Galadima, former justice of the supreme court, that Abugu did not die of substance abuse as claimed by the police.

Analysing the result of an autopsy which he carried out on the deceased, Abimiku said he noticed that her fingernails, lips and tongue were bluish, indicating that she had a respiratory problem before she died.

He said there were also bruises on her knees.

The pathologist said a look at her organs revealed that there was an accumulation of fluid in her lungs causing pulmonary congestion, adding that an examination of her kidney also revealed a noncancerous cyst and multiple fibroids.

Explaining further, Abimiku said dead sperm was found in her vagina.

Following allegations that she had died of a drug overdose, Abimiku said body fluid was used to test for all eleven drugs commonly abused, including cocaine, rohypnol, diazepam, barbiturate, marijuana, narcotics, cannabis, tranquillizers, and amphetamines, but all results came back negative.

He explained that the cause of Abugu’s death was anoxia, a medical condition caused by lack of adequate oxygen supply to the lungs.

“And this can come about as a result of strangulation, choking or suffocation,” he said.

Under cross-examination by James Idachaba, police counsel, the pathologist said DNA test could not be carried out on the sperm deposit found in the deceased, because it had been there for over 72 hours

The case has been adjourned till March 23 for the defendants to appear before the panel.

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