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  • News - South East - Abia
  • Updated: April 16, 2024

Kinsmen of deceased Air Force cadet protest his death in Umuahia

Kinsmen of deceased Air Force cadet protest his death in Umu

Kinsmen of deceased Air Force cadet, Emmanuel Onyemereche, who died by drowning in the swimming pool of Damgrete Hotel, on Tuesday embarked on a protest in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, demanding 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 Governor Alex Otti, to wade in.

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

Speaking on behalf of the protesters,  the Public Relations Officer of Okwuta-Isieke Autonomous Community, Chibuzor Onwukamuche, the Head of the family, Prince James Onyeomereneche and the woman leader, 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 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.”

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 was found culpable would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The Governor, while describing the incident as unfortunate, condoled the deceased’s immediate family and the 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 soldiers 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.

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

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