Nigerian died of natural causes at detention centre, says coroner

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur coroner’s court today ruled that Nigerian national Orhions Ewansiha Thomas died of natural causes while he was in the custody of immigration authorities.


Judge Mahyon Talib, acting as the coroner, said based on the testimony of witnesses, Thomas died of a heart attack.

She concluded that there was no negligence by the officers and ruled out that any criminal element was involved.

She said immigration officers had attempted to give him emergency resuscitation despite they being unqualified.

“Action was taken, but luck was not on his side. It cannot be concluded that there was any negligence or criminal element.”

Thomas died at the Bukit Jalil detention centre in July 2019 after being arrested along with 19 others during a raid at the Desa Aman Puri apartment in Kepong, Selangor.

The immigration department said the PhD student at Limkokwing University had experienced a seizure prior to his death but denied any foul play. This sparked a protest outside the Nigerian high commission.

An inquest was subsequently held to investigate Thomas’s death, after his widow, Blessing Uhunoma Eriamiator, claimed her husband was assaulted while in custody following witness testimony.


It was also claimed that he was refused medication while in detention.

Meanwhile, lawyer Rajesh Nagarajan, who represented Thomas’s family, said they would be filing an appeal and a civil suit against the immigration department for negligence.

Speaking to reporters, he said: “Thomas was given prescription drugs by an individual who was not qualified. We believe this is why he suffered from the heart attack.”

He said Thomas was not given proper medical treatment by a qualified person, and that ultimately caused his death.

“We agree with the court that he had died of natural causes, but why did he get a heart attack? Because he was not given proper medical treatment, which indirectly caused his death.

“That is why we will be appealing the findings of the court.”-FMT