My daughter was killed, embalmed without our knowledge –Mother

A grieving mother, Mrs. Philomena Odama, has alleged that a man, identified simply as Alhaji Usman, killed her daughter, Joy Odama, and embalmed her without her knowledge. She also said the embalmment was done with the assistance of policemen in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Philomena, from Cross River State, residing in Karno village, Abuja, said that Joy, her first daughter, was a 19-yearold 200 Level undergraduate of Mass Communications, Cross River State University. According to her, Joy came for Christmas holidays but later died in Usman’s house.
She explained that Joy’s the death has remained mysterious, while the police, for reasons she couldn’t fathom, refused to arrest Usman. Joy’s journey to death started on December 18, 2016, after her friend, Elizabeth, came to call her that Usman, a philanthropist, who used to give students scholarship, wanted to carry out another philanthropic gesture. Philomena said: “She said Alhaji wanted to help her with her education; she and other girls who live in the neighbourhood.
I quickly went to the house and Alhaji promised to help with my daughter’s education and equally promised to get me a job with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC). On December 20, in the evening, Alhaji called my daughter and said his house help was sick. He said she should come and help him watch the sick person, while he goes to look for doctor.
He said he had called other girls. Joy told me and I allowed her to go. That was the last time I saw my daughter alive.” When it was getting late, Philomena called Joy and the girl replied that she was at the man’s house with other girls. She promised to return home soon. After an hour, Philomena called again, but this time she couldn’t get Joy. Desperate, she called Alhaji, he also didn’t pick. She rushed to Alhaji’s home, but she was not allowed to entre.
The following morning, she tried calling Alhaji, he picked, but pretended not to know her or Joy. The woman said: “It was at that point that I knew all was not well. I called my husband, who was not around due to the nature of his work. I also called my relatives and neighbours. We all agreed to report to the police. As we stepped out, we saw two policemen.
They ordered us to follow them to police station at Karmo. “On getting there, the DPO informed us that all the girls that went to Alhaji’s house were unconscious; he said one was not responding to treatment. We requested to see Joy, but were asked to come back the following day
“The next day, December 22, I went back to the police station with relatives and a lawyer. To my utter shock, I was told that my daughter was dead and had been taken to the mortuary. We asked what led to Joy’s death, but the DPO, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mr Nkem Raphael, declined comment.
Our lawyer asked if Alhaji had been arrested, the DPO said that as far as he was concerned, Alhaji was not culpable and had committed no crime. He said Joy died a natural death.” Philomena requested to know the whereabouts of Joy’s corpse. She also requested to see the sick girls in the hospital in order to ask them some questions. She was directed to the Federal Medical Centre, Airport Road, Abuja.
When she got to the mortuary, she was shocked to discover that Joy’s corpse had already been embalmed. She said: “They embalmed my daughter without our knowledge or consent. One of the attendants told us that Alhaji brought the body in the early hours of December 21, claiming to be the father of my daughter.
They insisted on a police or doctor’s report. Alhaji left and returned with the DPO. It was the DPO that ordered that the body be embalmed immediately.” According to her, even the girls, who were said to be on admission in the hospital, were not there. She eventually met one of the girls, Martha, at the police station.
She alleged that the DPO urged her not to pursue the matter. He suggested the family dialogue with Alhaji for Joy’s burial. When the family finally agreed to dialogue with Alhaji, they met in the DPO’s office. The DPO instructed them to switch off their phones.
He said he didn’t want the discussion to be recorded. Philomena said: “The DPO said if we knew what was good for us, we should agree to whatever Alhaji offered us and desist from pursuing the matter. Alhaji offered to settle the matter with N300,000. We left and informed our lawyer.
The DPO again called for a second meeting where we met with a man, who introduced himself as an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Mr Umoru Usman Shehu, in charge of Intelligence, Force Headquarters Abuja. Umoru told us bluntly that investigation into the matter was closed and wouldn’t be reopened.
He said Alhaji should add an additional N100,000 to his initial offer. “He said it was in our best interest to accept the offer. The AIG was intimidating and threatening. At that point, a family friend present there, called us aside and advised that we collect the money to give them a false believe that we had agreed to their terms, while we go home and think of the next line of action, including having it as an exhibit. We’ll use the money as evidence against them.” Reacting to the allegations, Raphael, who is no longer the DPO of Karmo Police Station, said Philomena was lying.
When the DPO was contacted. He said: “What she’s telling is not the truth. When the incident happened, we visited the scene and saw the girl dead. On the day of the incident, the Alhaji was not at home. We took her to the hospital, where she was confirmed dead. We deposited her there at the mortuary.
The matter was transferred to Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Homicide. Autopsy has been carried out. I didn’t kill her child; neither did I connive with anybody. How can the body be embalmed? When police suggested autopsy, the family said they didn’t want autopsy.
They said Alhaji should settle them, so that they can go and bury their daughter. The Alhaji gave them N400,000. Everyone was present, including her brother, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), in charge of area command, Suleja. Alhaji gave them the money and turned round to accuse Alhaji of killing their daughter.
I don’t know what autopsy states; it’s no longer under my jurisdiction. I wrote a report to that effect. Ask them if anyone gave me any money. I didn’t collet money from anyone. Call her elder brother, the ACP and find out the truth. There’s no way a common me, an ordinary CSP, can connive to do anything, when her brother is an ACP, my senior in rank.” - New Telegraph.

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