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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cosmila Hotel Manager Clears the Air over Death of Lady in Swimming Pool


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Hotel Manager, Cosmila Hotel, Awka, Anambra State, Mr. Akuneziri Stanley, has cleared the air over the controversy trailing the recent death of a lady, identified as Miss Chinyere Awuda, whose corpse was recently discovered in an abandoned swimming pool in the Hotel.

Narrating how it all happened, Mr. Akuneziri said the incident happened at about 4:30am on Monday, July 17, 2023 in the hotel’s club, against publications by some armchair bloggers who erroneously said the incident happened on a Saturday night. He also explained that the incident happened during the unveiling of a fashion brand known as “Good Life,” which held in the club; and not during a birthday party as many bloggers and social media influencers also erroneously claim in their publications.

He said the incident started when someone in the club raised alarm that Miss Awuda pilfered bundles of money (about ₦200,000) that a friend of the host gave to him as a support to the launching of his brand.

He said: “You know he was the person who organized the event and called the guest artistes who performed at the show; and so, he needed to recover his money. So, his friends were spraying him money. They benevolently allowed people to pick the ones that fell in the general place inside the club as is usually the case in some clubs. But they were told not to pick the ones thrown to host of the event at the VIP.

“So, a friend of his gave him a bundle of money, about ₦200,000; and he gave it to his sister to keep for him in a nylon where he was putting his money. When the sister now kept the money in the nylon, this young girl, Chizzy, on seeing it, now went for the money and collected it from the nylon. So, when they noticed it, they started chasing her.”

Mr. Akuneziri, who explained that, although he was not inside the club when the incident was happening, said some of the eyewitnesses attested that the owner of the said money, popularly known as ‘Bullion Van’, slapped her when he and some of his friends first grabbed her, before she escaped and started running around to look for somewhere to hide, for her safety, as was captured by the CCTV cameras in the hotel premises.

According to the CCTV obtained by this reporter, Izunna Okafor; Miss Awuda was seen running towards the other side (extension) of the Hotel, trying to find a hiding spot for herself. The extension side she ran to, as was observed by this reporter, is the region where the hotel’s former swimming pool is located. The CCTV footage also showed some people purported to be her pursuers as they also went towards that direction in search of her, but eventually lost track of her and went back. Two men later returned to the area and also went back after a short while.

“As you can see in the CCTV footage, she first ran to the car park in that extension side and hid herself in front of one of the cars there,” Akuneziri said, adding that “They came to that side looking for her, but didn’t see her; and so, they went back.”

“You can also see her as she ran out from that car park and went farther, looking for another place to hide, maybe thinking that the people might still come after her again,” he narrated.

The CCTV cameras, however, did not capture where Miss Awuda eventually hid or any further movement by her thereafter; only for her lifeless body to be seen afloat on the abandoned swimming pool later the morning. It was on that premise that Mr. Akuneziri opined that she might have missed her step and fallen into the abandoned pool when she was running to that side to hide without knowing that there was a pool there, and given that the area was dark.

Touring this reporter, Izunna Okafor round the hotel to have an on-the-spot assessment; the Cosmila Manager also opined that how secluded and distanced the abandoned pool is from the busy parts of the hotel would also make it impossible for anyone to hear or see any drowning person who cries from the pool side for rescue or assistance; in addition to the music that was playing in the hotel’s bar all through the night till the following morning.

While describing Miss Awuda’s death as painful, he, however, debunked as erroneous and unfounded, the claims by some people who said she was beaten to death in the club and while the hotel management dumped her body inside the pool.

“Even you, check it and tell me how possible it would be for a group of people to beat a lady to death in such a crowded club as this without any single person coming to her rescue; and then, they thereafter carry her body and walk all the long distance from the club down to the former pool side, passing the bars, the boutique, the salon, and the car park to go and dump her in the pool, without anybody seeing or making videos of them. In this Nigeria?” he wondered.

Asked what the security men in the hotel were doing when the incident was happening, Mr. Akuneziri explained they were seen controlling the situation by trying to calm Billion Van and the other people down, which he said, was also captured in the CCTV footage.

He further added that it was the owner of the Hotel who ordered the apprehension and detention of Bullion Van and his accomplices in the morning when Miss Awuda’s relatives came looking for her, to make sure none of them escaped. He said it was also the owner of the hotel himself who involved the police in the matter and invited them to come and pick up the suspects where they were held in the hotel, given the allegations that they had issues with her in the club.

Mr. Akuneziri therefore wondered why some people would be accusing, blaming and criticizing the hotel over the matter. He also lamented that some people have also started trending his pictures on the social media with unfunny captions and write-ups in connection with the case, as if he was the person who murdered Miss Awuda.

“Remember, the hotel was just the venue used for the event of unveiling of the fashion brand, during which the incident happened; and no single staff of the hotel was involved in anything that happened there that day. So I really wonder why some people are making wrong accusations against me and the hotel management,” he said.

These notwithstanding, efforts and investigations are already on top gear to unravel the actual cause of Miss Awuda’s death and other circumstances surrounding her death, as the case has since been transferred to the State CID, as was confirmed by the Spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu.

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