The Malaysian immigration department has provided details on how Nigerian Ph.D. student, Thomas Orhionsefe Ewansiha died in its Bukit Jalil detention centre on Tuesday, denying that standard operating procedures had been breached.
In a statement, it said Thomas died after he was arrested alongside 19 others during a raid at the Desa Aman Puri Apartment in Kepong, Selangor.
“Residents of the apartment had lodged complaints to the immigration about the presence of foreigners and their misbehaviour,” it said.
Residents had also alleged that the use of drugs, prostitution and public intoxication in the area had caused unrest among locals, according to The Star Online.
Here is the account of the Malaysian Immigration Department as reported by The Star Online:
“At the time, a group of foreigners had tried to run away while also refusing to cooperate with officers during inspection.
The Malaysian Immigration detention centre where Ewansiha Thomas had seizure and died.
“The person in question (Ewansiha) had also fled but was successfully detained by officers,” said Immigration Department director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud in a statement Friday (July 12).
He said that Ewansiha then produced documents that officers found to be valid.
However, his previous actions had cause doubt on the authenticity of documents, and he was then detained for 14 days for further investigations.
“All the OKTs (arrested detainees) were then transported to the Kuala Lumpur Immigration Department office,” he said.
Checks were conducted on Ewansiha and treatment was administrated for an old injury on his thigh. He did not specify any pre-existing medical illnesses, according to Immigration.
All the detainees were then sent to the Bukit Jalil Depot at around noon on July 5.
“At around 12.05am on July 9, the officers on duty were told by the other detainees that the subject had had a seizure in his sleep.
“Immediate aid and medical checks were conducted and the hospital was contacted to assist as well.
“An ambulance from HUKM (Universiti Kebangsaan Hospital) as well as an assistant medical officer arrived at 12.30am and they had attempted to help the subject.
“However, he was then pronounced dead,” Khairul Dzaimee said, adding that a police report was made on the matter.
He added that the department was still waiting for a full medical report on the subject, as well as the exact cause of death, via a post-mortem.
The Limkokwing University of Creative Technology was informed of the death of its student Thomas Orhions Ewansiha on Thursday while in custody over his visa status.
This was to confirm that he was indeed the person who died while being detained to verify his visa status.
“We immediately responded by making all files available to the embassy.
“To our knowledge, Mr Thomas (Ewansiha ) was detained on July 5 at a public place in Kuala Lumpur during a raid,” the university said in a statement on Friday (July 12).
Ewansiha, who was pursuing his PhD in management, was married with two young children.
The university said Ewansiha was a member of its postgraduate centre.
“He was an inspired young man. We offer our condolences to his family and many close friends.
“We have no further information at this time. We are grateful for calm and understanding during this difficult time,” it said.
Ewansiha’s death led to a protest outside the Nigerian High Commission on Thursday, July 11.
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