No foul play in death of Nigerian student, says immigration

The Bukit Jalil detention centre where Nigerian student Orhions Ewansiha Thomas was held. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The immigration department today confirmed the death of Nigerian student Orhions Ewansiha Thomas at the Bukit Jalil detention centre earlier this week, saying no standard operating procedures had been breached.

In a statement, it said Thomas died on Tuesday 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.

“The deceased did not give full cooperation during the operation. He tried to run when approached by the immigration officers.”

It said Thomas had experienced a seizure prior to his death but denied any foul play. It said it is awaiting a report from Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

It said Thomas was remanded for two weeks to facilitate the process of verifying his documents as well as details of his college records.

Orhions Ewansiha Thomas.

Thomas’ death had triggered a protest outside the Nigerian High Commission at Jalan Ampang here yesterday.

The protesters voiced their frustrations at what they called the embassy’s lack of assistance to the over 30,000 Nigerians in the country.

Ahmed Adebanjo, a spokesman for NGO Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation Malaysia, said many Nigerians were being held in immigration depots as they did not have valid travel documents.

“Many Nigerians want to go home but after spending a lot of money, they don’t have the means to go back,” he said.

He said his organisation was doing all it could to help them but that the embassy had to do more.