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Monday, July 22, 2024

Our Daughter Is Not a Thief, We Want Justice for Her — Family of Lady Found Dead in Anambra Hotel


By Izunna Izunna Okafor

The family of the Miss Chinyere Awuda, the lady who recently died in the Cosmila Hotel, Awka, Anambra, has called for justice, to enable the soul of their daughter and sister rest in peace.

The family made the call while addressing with newsmen on Sunday in Awka, during which they also gave their own explanation of what happened.

Recall that the body of a lady, identified as Chinyere Awuda was found floating on an abandoned swimming pool of the Cosmila Hotel last week Monday, after she reportedly had some issues with a clubber who accused her of pilfering some money from the bag where he tied up the money he made from the show he hosted in the Cosmila club that night.

In an interview with newsmen, the father of the deceased, Mr. Patrick Awuda, said the news of her daughter’s death came to him as shock on Monday as he beheld her lifelessly float on an abandoned swimming pool after long hours of search for her.

According to him, the search for Chinyere began when his wife (Chinyere’s mother) called her on phone on that fateful Monday morning as she usually calls all her children every morning; but there was no response, which got them worried that they started asking for her whereabouts.

He said eventually, his son, Ekene Awuda, who had already set out with Chinyere’s fiancé to search for her, contacted him and told him to come over to the Cosmila Hotel in Awka, being the place she (Chinyere) had gone to have fun with some of her friends the previous night.

He said: “When we got there, the hotel management told us to return in the evening if she didn’t come back home before then, so that they would check the CCTV video to know where she went from the hotel. So, we stayed there and waited till 4.pm. And, after some time, some armed policemen arrived the hotel with about 8 Hilux vans.

“After a short while, they left and came back again with only two Hilux vans; and they handcuffed and took away a man in that hotel, who was said to have beaten Chinyere there in the club the previous night.

“When the policeman returned the third time, they asked me if I wanted to see my daughter and if I could hold myself when I saw her, and I told them Yes. Then, they took us to an abandoned dirty swimming pool in the hotel and showed us a body of a lady floating on the water and I asked if she was the person I was looking for. Although her face was submerged in the water, I could identify my daughter with her clothes (her red top and blue gean); and I said Yes, she is the one.”

Chinyere Awuda

Continuing, Mr. Awuda said, “My son and Chinyere’s fiancé wanted to take picture on Chinyere while she lied lifeless in the pool; but the policemen prevented them and warned them not to do that, as the matter was under investigation.

“Even when they eventually brought an ambulance later in the evening, they still prevented my son and Chinyere’s fiancé from coming to the pool side, let alone seeing or taking pictures as she was being brought out from the pool.

“I was the only person they allowed into the scene. And the after that they put her in the ambulance and drove out, telling us to come over to the police station. When we got to the station, we were referred to the mortuary where they went and deposited my daughter’s corpse. And we went there and saw her.

“Even when my son also wanted to take pictures of her in the mortuary, the mortuary attendant there prevented him from doing so, saying that police instructed them not to allow anybody take pictures of her. And that was how we finished watching my daughter’s corpse there and left.”

Concerning what led to Chizzy’s death, the 79-year-old Mr. Awuda, said they were told that she had issues with someone at the club the previous night, which, he said, led to some people gang-beating and chasing her around in the hotel.

According to him, the issues borders on money stealing allegation inside the club. He, however, said he was surprised to hear such allegations, as his daughter was not a thief nor the type that looks at what does not belong to her. He further noted that the CCTV videos they have watched showed some people beating his Chinyere and chasing her around, which made her start scampering for safety and looking for where to hide, while they still continued searching for her.

“In the CCTV videos, we also saw her as she ran pass, and some people pursued after her. The people later returned as we saw in the video, but my daughter did not return.

“All we want is for justice to prevail. The Chinyere my daughter I know was not a thief. So, I don’t know where that allegation is coming from. We want government and the security agencies to ensure that justice is served on this matter, so that my daughter’s soul will rest in peace,” he said.

Corroborating his father’s narration, the elder brother to Chinyere, Mr. Ekene Awuda, alleged that his sister’s body was full of bruises when they saw her corpse, which he said, might not be far from the reason the policemen prevented them from taking photos of her.

He further alleged that the people involved in the matter had almost deceived their father into swearing an affidavit of settlement on the matter without finding out the actual cause of his daughter’s death or understanding the circumstances surrounding her death.

While confirming that they and some policemen from the State’s Criminal Investigation Department (State CID) Awka were at the Hotel again last Saturday to watch the CCTV footage; he vehemently dismissed the claim that Chinyere was not beaten to death, and also challenged the security operatives to “make those CCTV videos they saw on Saturday public, for the whole world to see where the people were gang-beating and pursuing her.”

On his own part, Chinyere’s fiancé, Mr. Henry Joseph, who narrated how she left for the clubbing but never returned alive, described her as a sociable and peaceful person who would always mind her business. He also expressed his disbelief to the allegation of theft levelled against her, and said there was also no single sign that showed she was holding any money (as the people alleged) the time they were reportedly gang-beating her.

“So, their allegation does not hold water at all. They have been calling for settlement; but we need to know what truly happened to her first before anything. She has relatives, she hailed from a kindred, village and town; and all these people would want to know what happened to their daughter and sister. So, we need justice for her,” he said

The bereaved also wondered why commercial activities currently still go on in the hotel which was recently sealed by the Anambra State Government.

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