Fresh facts have emerged on the death of an Edo State-born PhD student and father of two, Thomas Ewansiha, in Malaysia.
His wife, Blessing, alleged that he was murdered while in the custody of the Malaysian Immigration Services.
She said her husband’s corpse was butchered during autopsy, while both sides of his neck were cut down to his chest and lower abdomen.
Blessing said in a statement obtained by PUNCH Metro in Abuja on Monday, “After my husband’s death, he was taken to hospital where they conducted an autopsy on him; they cut him and both sides of his neck were cut down to his chest and lower abdomen.
“They also tore the upper and lower arms without our consent. No Nigerian or family member was there; they don’t have any right to do that. It is suspicious and that is why we want to perform a fresh autopsy on him.”
She faulted the narrative by the Malaysian Immigration Services, which she said, showed a concerted effort to “conceal what really transpired and a grand effort to hide their role in the proximate cause of his death.”
Thomas, the 34-year-old PhD student of Management at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, was said to have been arrested on July 4, 2019, at the Desa Aman Puri area of Damansara and died five days later.
His wife claimed that Thomas, who had a valid student visa at the time of his arrest, had his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Malaysia.
The Nigerian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur had on July 12, 2019, said it was engaging with the Malaysian authorities and awaiting the result of the autopsy conducted on the corpse.
“The High Commission has equally taken note of the concerns of Nigerians in Malaysia. The High Commission assures that necessary steps are being taken towards addressing the unfortunate incident with a view for a redress and to prevent such an occurrence in the future,” it stated.
But Blessing insisted that her husband was tortured to death by Malaysian immigration officers.
She said, “The immigration officers on raid came to private vehicles and there was nothing to identify them as immigration officers, because they were not wearing uniforms.
“They rushed out of their various vehicles with sticks and they were chasing Nigerians, and my husband’s car was parked close by and he was about rushing to his car when they held him and handcuffed both of his hands together with the other victims.
“No sane mind at that time would believe that the men were state officials, but gangsters. Even with a valid visa, they took him away and locked him up and the immigration didn’t inform the school until he died in their custody.
“Mr Thomas Ewansiha, who was just fresh from a visit to his place of birth in Edo State, Nigeria, apparently wanted to share the experience of his visit to Nigeria and of course deliver one or two messages from loved ones to his fellow countryman also living in Malaysia.
“On arrival at the destination, he called his friend, who lives in one of the apartments, to meet him at a particular restaurant downstairs as he wanted to have his dinner since he came from a far place.
“While waiting for his meal, immigration officers, in a commando style operation, swooped on him in what was later discovered to be a raid on the neighbourhood against black migrants.
“He was shocked but remained calm knowing full well that he had all the necessary documents and permits. In the commotion that took place, Ori Baba was beaten, manhandled and handcuffed. He was forced to sit on the floor, while the immigration officers raided other apartments and arrested 20 black immigrants.
“My husband tried in vain to explain to the mean looking immigration officers that he had his valid papers on him and was indeed a responsible and insurance-paying migrant with no blemish on his record.
“He told them how he came to Malaysia to study, got his BSc from the Twintech International University College of Technology, Malaysia; MSc from the Limkokwing University, Malaysia and his PhD currently at the Limkokwing University, Malaysia.”
According to her, the deceased also informed the Malaysian authorities how he had contributed immensely to the economy and paid all necessary insurance and other taxes to enable him come for his studies.
She said all entreaties and narratives on how he started his family in Malaysia, where he lived with his wife and two children, fell on deaf ears as he was taken into custody.
Quoting the Director-General of the Malaysian Immigration Services, Datuk Khairul Daud, she added, “An officer on duty at the Bukit Jalil Immigration depot was alerted at around 12.05am on July 9 by other detainees of Thomas’ seizure during his sleep, which was then followed by immediate medical treatment by a special treatment unit on duty, as well as further assistance from an ambulance that arrived at 12.30am before he was verified as dead. Daud claims an autopsy is awaited to determine the cause of his death.”