Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, has called for a Coroner's inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of a 21-year-old lady, Esther Isaac Asuquo, who was murdered on February 25, 2022, in Room 901 at Agete Hotel in Gwarinpa area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Falana & Falana Chambers who is representing the family of the deceased accused the FCT Police of compromising the case by shielding the hotel and its management.
Four months after the tragic incident, the hotel had continued with business while the police authorities refused to carry out an investigation on the matter with the aim of frustrating the case and sweeping it under the carpet.
Esther's death had sparked angry reactions on social media as the brother of the deceased, Isaac Asuquo, shortly after the tragic incident alleged cover up when the hotel management allegedly made attempt to offer the family the sum of N500,000 for burial expenses and forget about the matter.
The letter, dated April 29, 2022 addressed to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 7 Headquarters Abuja signed by a lawyer in Falana & Falana Chambers, Marshal Abubakar, asked the police authorities to order an inquest into the death of Esther.
SaharaReporters gathered that four months after the incident, the National Hospital, Abuja, allegedly requested for the sum of N1million for the autopsy and certificate of death from the family of the deceased.
The letter read in part, “Miss Esther Isaac Asuquo (the deceased) was gruesomely murdered on or about 22nd day of February, 2022. The circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear. Rather than conduct thorough proper preliminary investigation, the Gwarinpa Police Station and some officers at the FCT Command of the Nigerian police are working in concert with the management of the Agape Hotel, Gwarinpa, Abuja, and have been engaging in all subterfuge cover-up.
“Rather than constitute a Coroner’s inquest to properly investigate and unravel the circumstances surrounding the death of Miss Esther Isaac, (the deceased), one DCP Kabiru A. Shehu (Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department, Zone 7, Police headquarters Abuja) purportedly acting under your instructions had requested the Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital, Abuja, to conduct an autopsy on a corpse that is not in their custody. As much as we appreciate the gesture, the modus is fault-able on three mainframes.
“Firstly, the responsibility to mandate an autopsy is with the Coroner. It is the Coroner himself that has the responsibility of attaching the Coroner's forms that were attached to the letters of 19/04/2022 requesting for the conduct of autopsy.”