Family, friends seek justice over Nigerian killed in India

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The Indian authorities are making efforts to explain the gruesome murder of another Nigerian national resident in Bengaluru, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state, on Sunday, December 12.

Victor Akuete, a native of Uromi in Esan North East of Edo State, had lived in India for over ten years and was married to a Bengaluru woman with whom he had a child.

Initial reports indicated that Mr Akuete, who was in his late 40s, was stabbed to death by friends after a heated argument.

According to Bengaluru city police, he was attacked on Sunday night at about 10 p.m. while walking along the road.

The police also said they had arrested three persons in connection with the murder.

The arrested persons are Arun, Philip Raj, and Neelakantha, all residents of Banaswadi.

Deputy Police Commissioner (East), SD Sharanappa, had initially blamed the killing on an African national known to Mr Akuete. But on Monday, he reversed himself, stating that “scientific investigation helped to identify the accused persons.”

He said they have taken the accused to custody and the interrogation is in preliminary stage.

“We exactly do not know what was the motive behind killing Victor,” Mr Sharanappa said. “The incident took place around 10pm near Kullappa circle in Kammanahalli and we are yet to ascertain the reason behind the incident.”

Victor Akuete, wife and daughter
Victor Akuete, wife and daughter

But the deceased’s younger brother, Christopher Akuete, who is resident in Nigeria, told PREMIUM TIMES that the report made available to the family indicated that the assailants had accosted their victim where he was having a beer and wanted him to share it with them.

He said his brother was reported to have refused and while he was walking home, they followed him and stabbed him in the chest and abdomen.

According to Christopher, the ambulance came late and the bleeding was heavy leading to the death of his elder brother.

“My brother did not commit any crime, he was not accused of any wrong doing and he cannot just be allowed to die like that,” he said.

He said the family expects a thorough investigation and those arrested should be brought to justice according to the laws of the land.

He also disclosed that efforts were being made to get the remains to be released to the Esan and the Nigerian communities in India for burial. He said once the body is retrieved, he is likely to be buried on Friday.

In March this year, a Nigerian national, Leohand Lyeanyi, was murdered under a controversial circumstance while he was arrested by the Indian police in Delhi.

Mr Akuete’s friends, under the umbrella of his Old Students Association, Auchi College Auchi 1990(ACA’90), condemned the killing, saying the incessant killing of Nigerians in the Asian country should stop.

“He was gruesomely murdered in India on Sunday the 12th of December 2021,” the coordinator of the ACA Class of 90, Prisca Idonije, said in a tersely worded statement on Thursday.

“The reports in the news and dailies have been contradictory which goes to show there is every likelihood of an attempt to cover up or hinder justice.

“We call on all the bodies responsible for seeing to justice being served in cases like this to help us ensure that this case is properly investigated and the culprits brought to book.”

When contacted, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) said the information was yet to reach its office as of Thursday.

Head of Department of Media and Public Relations, Abdulrahman Balogun, told PREMIUM TIMES on the phone that the commission was yet to receive any information on the death of Mr Akuete from the Nigerian High Commission in India.

He, however, urged the family members of the deceased to write a petition to the commission, providing details of his death upon which action could be carried out.

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