10 Nigerian Students Killed Abroad in Five Months —-INTERPOL
When the celebrated murder case of Damilola Taylor, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to Richard and Gloria Taylor (died 8 April 2008) was brought to Nigerians and indeed the whole world, many had thought, it was going to mark the beginning of the end of such gruesome murder of Nigerian students seeking knowledge abroad.
Damilola attended Wisdom Montessori School, Ikosi, Ketu, Lagos, before he travelled to the United Kingdom in August 2000 with his family to allow his sister Gbemi to seek treatment for epilepsy.
Damilola, with his family, moved into the North Peckham estate and he began to attend the local school. Taylor was doing well at school. Teachers were impressed by his ability and his enthusiasm. Mr Parsons said: “He was slowly making friends and settling into the school. He was a boisterous, fun, smiling boy. If I think about him I think of him smiling.” But there were signs that the new boy was being bullied.
On Friday, three days before his death, he returned home to tell his mother he was being called names and had been beaten up. Mrs Taylor was so concerned that at the first opportunity, on Monday morning, she escorted her son to school to talk to Mr Parsons. She said: “They were calling him names and saying things like ‘fuck your mother’. He asked me, ‘Mum, what is the meaning of gay?’ These boys were calling him gay and I said, ‘Do not listen to them’. I said, ‘Go and report it to your class teacher”, was the final word of the mother to Damilola.
But contrary to that anticipation, the International Police Department (INTERPOL) in their current statistics has averred that over 10 Nigerian students have died under questionable circumstances at their respective colleges abroad since the beginning of this year alone.
The latest on the list, which also necessitated the INTERPOL Commissioner of Police in Nigeria (CP) Muhammed Aduba, to speak with our Correspondent about it is that of a Nigerian student , Naizi Evah, a third year Computer Systems Engineering student of Vaal University of Technology, South Africa who was found dead on Saturday May 24, 2014 in her hostel room.
According to the INTERPOL boss in Nigeria, it is her friends who are trying to get the media involved in the case, whereas, the South African Police is doing everything possible to bury the case. One of her friends who reached out to us said prior to her death, Naizi had been in an abusive relationship with a Zimbabwean student, who also studies in same school with her, studying same course. The unidentified man was arrested by police in connection with Naizi’s death but was bailed two days after police said they couldn’t find any substantial evidence linking him to her death.
Her friends say the boyfriend had been emotionally and physically abusive towards Naizi, beat her severally and even threatened to kill her. They say Naizi got tired of the abuse and broke things off with the man and told close friends she was done with him but he kept on trying to get her back. Her friends believe she was murdered but don’t know by who and want the Nigerian authorities to get involved as they don’t believe they will get justice for Naizi with South African police. Naizi was from Edo State and was only 20 years old.
In Dubai, Toba Falode, 19-year-old son of a popular sports caster, Aisha Falode, a student of SAE Institute, Dubai, died in mysterious circumstances. The ace broadcaster is still asking for Justice. The INTERPOL boss said, “my department has been petitioned over the matter and that detectives has been detailed on the case.”
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammed Abubakar, in a telephone chat with our Correspondent, noted that the trend was becoming worrisome but that government was not silent about the development.
“This is a very worrisome development and government is not at peace with it. I can assure you that all these cases are being pursued vigorously and soon, justice shall be done. I have provided the necessary logistics to the NITERPOL department to facilitate their work and I am sure they would deliver.”
The Police boss said, INTERPOL was still on the trail of the killers of four Nigerian students and a school pupil in Ghana alone. This is even as the leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and National Association of Nigerian Students have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to tackle the issue of student safety in Ghana, with a view to preventing the breakdown of bilateral relations between the two countries.
“There are as many as 75,000 Nigerians in tertiary institutions in neighbouring Ghana, which is known for providing friendly working and living conditions for foreign students.”
He gave the breakdown of Nigerian students killed abroad as follows: In November, barely 26 days after Ogukwe’s death, two Nigerian students, Eddy and Charles of KNUS Federal University Accra, lost their lives, during an excursion with their school mates, the school claimed they got drowned.
”Only two weeks ago, Mr. Godwin Ayogu, a 300 level Social Science student of University of Cape Coast Central Region was brutally killed on February 20th, and his lifeless body was found on campus,” a member of the House of Representatives Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa said.
Explaining further, the police boss said Malaysia police killed one Tunde Adelabu from Ekiti State, a student of Lagenda University, Nilai, Malaysia, adding that more than 80 Nigerian students were currently in danger in Malaysia, according to reports, with no intervention whatsoever from the nation’s embassy in Malaysia.
The Nigerian INTERPOL chief said: “Also, a group of unknown Russians last two weeks stabbed a female Nigerian, Forester Samson, to death in Russia. In Dubai, Toba Falode, 19-year-old son of a popular sports caster, Aisha Falode, a student of SAE Institute, Dubai, died in mysterious circumstances. In South Africa, the humiliating video of a Nigerian man stripped and beaten publicly by South African police has made news all over the world.“
Last week five students at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana were arrested after the gruesome murder of Nigerian social science student Godwin Ayogu, 19. He was apparently killed after trying to recover money he had lent to a fellow student.
His death followed the drowning of two Nigerian students from Knutsford University College in Accra while on an outing with university officials, and the mysterious death in October last year of 15-year-old Nigerian Austin Ogukwe, a student at Ideal College in Tema.
Nigeria’s human rights community has also lent its voice to those worried about student safety in other countries. “The sanctity of life cannot be compromised under any guise. The rights of foreigners must be adequately protected,” said Sylvester Odion-Akhaine, executive director of the Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation.
He said the issue not only posed the question of how safe Nigerian students were on the Gold Coast and in other countries, but also how interested university managements were in the well-being of foreign students, most of whom were teenagers.
The right activist added, “last month another Nigerian student, Adelabu Tunde, was shot dead by Malaysian police. He was killed while walking home from his studies at Legenda University.”