GOVERNMENT OF ANAMBRA STATE OF NIGERIA
OFFICE OF THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY GENERAL & COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE
Our Ref: AG/AN/S.62/Vol III 280
Attorney General’s Chamber
Min Of Justice
Chief Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex
P. M. B 5055, Awka
Date: 30th August 2022
DISCLAIMER ON PURPORTED RESULT OF AUTOPSY CONDUCTED ON LATE MRS. CHIDIEBERE JANE ILOKA (NEE EZENWOYE): NEXT STEPS
Anambra State Govermment hereby dissociates itself from any news in circulation or purported “preliminary” report of autopsy conducted on Late (Mrs) Chidiebere lloka. We coordinated the autopsy examination, and appointed two experienced consultant pathologists out of the six that participated in the examination and wish to state categorically that no conclusive autopsy report has been issued by the team of pathologists.
As a responsible government, with strong commitment to rule of law and justice for all, we have a responsibility to ensure that justice is done and seen to be done. Given the general public interest in this case and in the interest of transparency, we must aiso keep the public fully informed. We hereby summarize the context, recent developments, and the position of Anambra State Government as follows:
on 7th August, 2022, the social media was awash with photos of a lifeless lady (almost in her underwears and torn clothes) with significant bruises on all sides of her face. A massive national debate ensured with calls for justice. The elder brother of the deceased, Mr. Uchenna Ezenwoye through his lawyer, D.O. Ezeonwuka, Esq and on the 12th August, 2022 submitted a strongly worded petition addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, entitled: “HOMICIDE AND GRUESOME MURDER OF MRS. CHIDIEBERE iLOKA (NEE EZENWOYE BY MBAZULIKE ILOKA: A CALL FOR YOUR INTERVENTION AND JUSTICE
In the said petition, Mr. Uchenna Ezenwoye averred, among others: that Mr. Mbazulike Iloka is a peron known for his several and continuous beating of his wife, late (Mrs) Chidiebere Iloka (nee Ezenwoye) to the extent that family members have times without number warned Mr. Mbazuike Iloka to stop his acts of beating his wife… but to no avail”… that he (Uchenna Ezenwoye) ” on several occasions advised Mbazulike Iloka not to beat his wite for whatever reason but he refused to take the wise advice, rather he boasted that nobody will come to his house and tell him how to marry his wife and that he can do and undo and nothing will happen”. Uchenna Ezenwoye further averred that Mbazulike Iloka had before now threatened to kill his wife, Late (Mrs) Chidiebere Iloka (nee Ezenwoye)…”, Mr Ezenwoye averred that “Mr. Mbazulike Iloka gruesomely murdered Late (Mrs) Chidiebere Iloka (nee Ezenwoye) without justification…” He made other weighty allegations and also accused Mbazulike lloka of rushing the corpse to the mortuary so as to hide the evident significant bruises on all sides of the deceased’s face.
b) Developments: As a government with zero tolerance for domestic violence (let alone one that allegedly led to death) as well as the fact that the accused, Mr. Mbazulike lloka, was an appointee of the government, we decided to take every necessary step to ensure justice for both the dead and Mr. Iloka. We decided to coordinate the autopsy process and invited the families of the deceased and the accused to nominate representative pathologists and each nominated two. The government appointed two, making a team of six. At the meeting before the autopsy on 16th August, 2022, it was agreed that the tests/result would be processed ready within 2-6 weeks. Even as at today, 30th August, the result of toxicology is still being awaited.
Surprisingly, the next day, 17th August (barely 24 hours after the autopsy process begun and samples taken for laboratory tests, including toxicology tests), the same elder brother rushed to swear an affidavit claiming: “That an autopsy already conducted on our sister on 16/8/2022 by a team of pathologists has shown that the deceased was not killed. That based on the outcome of the autopsy, myself and my family have resolved to discontinue the case”, Subsequently two days later on 19th August, 2022, the father of the deceased, Chief Emmanuel Ezenwoye wrote to the Inspector General of Police (copied to the Governor of Anambra, Commissioner of Women Affairs, State Commissioner of Police, etc) and entitled: DISSOCIATION OF MYSELF, MY WIFE, AND OTHER CHILDREN FROM THE PETITION WRITTEN BY HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCATION NIGERIA AGAINST MR. MBAZULIKE ILOKA ON THE 15TH AUGUST, 2022 TO YOUR GOOD OFFICE”. In the said petition, Mr. Ezenwoye averred that the pathologist that represented the family during the autopsy gave his three children PRELIMINARY BRIEFING after the said autopsy suggestive of the fact that my said daughter, Chidiebere, was not murdered and was not beaten up at all” (how does an autopsy result show that someone was not beaten up at all”?). He subsequently prayed the Inspector General of Police to release his son-in-law, Mbazulike Iloka, “unconditionally”. Then on the 24th August, 2022 (barely 8 days in the process; without the result of the toxicology tests and without the knowledge or consent of other pathologists in the team especially the two consultant pathologists appointed by government) the pathologist appointed by the family issued his personal “PRELIMINARY” findings, speculating about the possible cause of death.
c) Conclusions and Next Steps:
There are too many puzzling questions but we leave them for another day. A few facts are worth emphasizing. First, there is no autopsy result agreed to by the pathologists that conducted the autopsy: what the pathologist representing the family issued as ” preliminary” result remains his personal opinion, and the consultant pathologists appointed by government dissociate themselves from such. Why the extreme rush to issue preliminary” result or to swear affidavit– all designed to pre-empt the full/final report and hence put pressure on other pathologists in the team? Second, not all members of the family of Mr. Ezenwoye agree on the confusing and conflicting statements from the family. Some are ready to testify otherwise. Third, we have testimonies regarding the huge pressures and even threats on members of the family leading to the twists and turns in their stories. Finally, allegations of domestic violence and homicide/murder are weighty criminal matters–offences against the State, and no longer matters within the discretion of the family to “pursue or withdraw”. It is all within the purview of the State. It is now within the powers of the police force to investigate/prosecute, and/or the State Government to initiate the process of a Corona Inquiry.
In the light of the foregoing, it is the view af Anambra State Government that:
(i) Given the unprofessional conduct of pre-emptive issuance of “preliminary” autopsy report without waiting for test results and contrary to rules of conduct agreed to by the team of pathologists, the integrity of the autopsy process is called to serious question. The Government hereby withdraws the team of pathologists appointed by her from the process.
(ii)The Nigerian Police is enjoined to professionally and thoroughly investigate the TWO allegations of domestic violence and homicide murder
(iii) The State Government will reserve its further steps pending the outcome of (ii) above.
Prof. Sylvia Chika Ifemeje Commissioner for Justice/Attorney-General 30-08-22
Dr Afam Obidike Commissioner for Health
Mrs. Ifeyinwa Obinabo Commissioner for Women& Children Affairs
- Inspector General of Police
- Commissioner of Police, Anambra State
- Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria