Vanguard (Lagos)

30 January 2013

Nigeria: How Citizen Aigbedion Was Mobbed, 'Murdered' in Turkey

PERHAPS, if Mr. Courage Aigbedion, was told when he was leaving Nigeria for Turkey in 2011, that he was embarking on a suicide flight, he would have dismissed it with a wave of hand.

For someone, who lived in a country where relocating to Europe, seems to be the surest exit from harsh economic conditions, there would not have been anything anyone could have done to dissuade Courage from searching for greener pastures abroad. Hence, all that mattered to him while leaving Nigeria, were the prospects of landing a good job in Turkey and coming back to the country an economically satisfied person.

But all the dreams that accompanied the former staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, were short-lived in October 2012.

Accordingly, Courage's journey to the land of no return, started on October 17, 2012 on the streets of Istanbul, as he was allegedly mobbed by five Turkish youths and subsequently died in Police custody.

Today, the family of the deceased are distressed over this mysterious death of their bread winner.

Narrating the circumstances that led to the demise of Courage, his younger brother, Mr. Presley Aigbedion told VanguardFeatures,VF that the Edo State born ex-CBN staff, died in a police cell, where he was kept for three weeks after being mobbed to a state of coma.

"My brother left Nigeria for Turkey in 2011, but I don't know the precise date he left. He was a peace loving and responsible citizen of this country. I was in the United Kingdom ,UK, when the incident happened. Upon receiving the news of his death, we had to send my elder brother, who is based in Germany to visit Turkey in respect of the matter," he stated.

He further said: "My elder brother made some useful findings in Turkey, which gave us the idea that our brother was mobbed to a state of coma by five Turkish youths on his way from work, he was subsequently arrested by Turkish police and was kept in their custody without medical attention. And he died three weeks after in Police custody. While in Istanbul, my brother spoke to our late brother's flatmate, who also told us that he was mobbed and allowed to die by the Police."

Allowed to die in Police custody

Continuing his narration,he said: "The Police and hospital reports said Courage died on October 17, 2012, since we did not know the exact date this happened, because we did not have access to the police report that must have been issued. Some visited him in jail and confirmed that he was kept in a police cell for three weeks.

His co-worker confirmed that he worked with Courage on the day the incident happened. That after work, they went separately to their various homes. His roommate also confirmed that Courage was brought into their flat at 2:00 am by the Police.

The Police asked him to bring his passport and the roommate observed that he was bleeding profusely while his left eye was heavily bandaged, Courage struggled to tell them that he was waylaid by five Turkish boys, who beat him up at about 8:00 in the night."

Explaining further , he said: "The roommate pleaded with the police to take him to the hospital because he was in a bad state. But they said they were taking him to their station. The roommate tried to visit Courage but he was not allowed to see him. He left him an envelope with some money at the counter. Three weeks later an official of the Nigerian Community in Istanbul called the roommate to say that Courage was dead."

According to Mr. Aigbedion, "While in Turkey, the Nigerian Embassy sent an official, Mr. Nwokolo to accompany my brother to the police station in Istanbul and the mortuary where he was kept for identification. At the police station, nobody showed us the charge sheet against him.

No body showed any repatriation form they have filed to return him to Nigeria. No one could tell us exactly what he did wrong. One of the policeman confided in me that Courage was actually beaten up and wounded when he was brought to the station."

Aigbedion also added thus: "We went back to the hospital on December 12, 2012 to identify his remains. I saw him and his left eye was deep blue resulting from the injury he may have received. I and Mr. Nwokolo the embassy official signed some papers for the release of his body once the Turkish government agrees to bear the cost of repatriation."

Aigbedion, who was overwhelmed by emotion, said the Speaker of the House of Representatives had been petitioned on the matter.

Petition to House of Reps

The petition which was signed by the father of the deceased, Mr. Osazuwa Aigbedion, the family called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter.

It also urged the Speaker to prevail on the Turkish Government to take responsibility for repatriation to Nigeria, the corpse of the deceased, who was allegedly murdered on October 27, 2012.

The petition written through Mr. Jim Adun, who is representing Egor/Ikpoba-Okha Federal Constituency in the House, reads:"This is to formally protest the gruesome murder of my son on the street of Istanbul, Turkey by five Turkish youths who mobbed him into a state of coma.

The said youths thereafter with the active connivance of the Turkish Police, clamped the deceased into cell for three weeks without granting him access to medical attention. He died in Police cell as a result of injuries sustained and brutality of the five Turkish youths.

"While I note that nothing can be done at this stage to bring back the life of the deceased, the uncivilised, brutish and degrading of human life aided by Turkish Police authority brings to the fore the culpability of the Turkish government in the death of my son."

It further said: "In achieving justice, I want the Federal Government through the instrumentality of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Turkey to assist in finding answers to various questions on the matter in order to get justice for the deceased."

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