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Years after mother’s death, son alleges murder

...Discovers death certificate issued by military hospital was fake

Joy Anyim

For Bassey Eniang, his late mother, Mrs. Grace Eniang, must have been murdered by persons, who had plotted to take over her properties and investments.

Grace, who was a prosperous businesswoman with shares in Wampco, PZ, Nigerian Breweries and Nestle, also operated bank accounts in Nigeria and United Kingdom. She owned houses in Lagos and Akwa-Ibom, amongst other investments.

According to Bassey, the 84-year-old woman, who was blessed with five children, died in a suspicious manner. He claimed it took him many years to uncover the plot, which he said was spearheaded by three of his siblings,  Affiong Eniang, Efiong Eniang, Arit Eniang, Jeremiah Udoh and the deceased’s lawyer,  Mr.  Mojeed Oduwole.

Substantiating his claim, Bassey, who is the third child of the deceased, said in the course of his many years of private investigation into what might have led to the death of his mother, it was first discovered that the death certificate issued by the Military Hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos, on March 1, 2009 was fake.

A copy of the death certificate, which carried the military hospital stamp, was made available to The Nigerian Xpress. It showed that the primary cause of death was cardiac arrest while the secondary cause was heart failure.

He said, two law firms, Wole Smith $ Co. and that of Oduwole (M. A. Oduwole, ESQ) had written to authenticate the originality of the death certificate, only to be informed by the hospital authority in two separate letters that it was fake and forged.

The hospital was said to have also denied knowledge of the patient whom Affiong had told Bassey was a patient there before her death.

Bassey, who said he had not been in the country for years, following a health challenge, said he had upon his return also discovered that his mother died on March 2, 2009, hence the possibility of her murderers, procuring the death certificate ahead of her murder the next day.

In a petition dated July 30, 2018 to the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan in Lagos, he had called for an investigation into the alleged crime.

It was learnt that the AIG had directed the State Criminal investigation Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti in Yaba to take over the investigation.

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Subsequently, Bassey had also written to the Deputy Commissioner in Charge of SCIID, on October 2, 2018.

The petition read in part: “The substance of my petition is that the suspects (Affiong Eniang, Efiong Eniang, Arit Eniang and the deceased’s lawyer, Mr.  Mojeed Oduwole), conspired to commit murder, murdered the petitioner’s mother, Mrs. Grace Eniang on March 1st,  2009, deposited her corpse at the Military Hospital morgue, in Awolowo Road In Ikoyi,  Lagos on March 2nd,  2009.

“After which they procured a fake and forged death certificate dated March 1st, 2009, purportedly from the hospital to cover their evil and criminal act.  Cardiac arrest was the cause of death stated in the certificate whose issuance the military hospital rejected, as fraud, fake, forged, in a breach of the Armed Forces Act (as amended).

“The Military Hospital in a letter reply to Smith $ Co. enquiry, confirmed that Grace is not a known patient of the hospital. They also confirmed that she did not die in the facility and of such disease as contained in the death certificate attached. Therefore, the attached death certificate issued is not from the hospital.

“Arit and Edet (who is the youngest son) had also called to inform the petitioner of their mother’s death on March 2nd, 2009, saying she died on March 1st at about 8pm at St. Nicholas Hospital in Lagos Island.”

This he said was contrary to the story told by Affiong, who claimed the deceased died at Military Hospital where she had been receiving treatments.”

On Oduwole’s involvement, the petitioner also states,  “ Mr. Mojeed Oduwole to extricate himself from indictment for conspiracy, fraud and murder, in his written statement on June 15th, 2016 informed the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that the deceased was introduced to him by Udoh. He also admitted to knowledge through the military hospital dated November 25th, 2009, wherein the hospital disclosed that the death certificate did not emanate from them.

“Saying that Affiong procured the fake death certificate for the suspects. But that the deceased was deposited in the hospital’s mortuary on March 2nd, 2009 as noted in the record of the military hospital.

“Sequel to the above, the suspects in further acts of desperation, conspired and procured fake and forged land documents to encroach and convert a property at No.14A, Adekunle Deen Street, Sari-Iganmu, which they falsely claimed ownership to.

“Udoh now claims that my mother sold him that property before her death, which is not true because till date he has not been able to furnish the police with purchase receipt.”

Asked why it took him close to 10 years to raise alarm, Bassey said, “ I have been battling with a health challenge, which had kept me in and out of the country for years but since I was certified fit by my doctors, I felt it was time to do the right thing and get justice for my late mother.”

On what he expects from the police,  Bassey said: “ I am the only child who stayed with my mother in Nigeria while others were abroad. I knew her to be a strong woman. With all the drama surrounding her death, I believe something is wrong somewhere. I have taken it easy for years and counting but Effiong, Affiong and Arit have continued their attacks, stealing, selling our parents’ assets. I advise them to report to the Police, Legal Department, SCIID Panti, to enable ongoing investigation of suspected homicide, forgery and fraud. I will petition SCIID to demand for INTERPOL assistance (if need be), for their arrest within the next few days if they continue to evade Police.

“All I want to know is what happened to my mother between March 1 and 2, 2009; how she died; the conspiracy between all those I suspect are involved and what their motives were.”

Affiong, who was contacted via her telephone number for comments did not respond to the several calls put across to her by the reporter. A text message was also sent but she was yet to return the calls or even respond to the messages as at press time.

When the correspondent contacted Barrister Oduwole on phone to comment on the allegations made by Bassey, he said he was no longer in touch with the family since the death of his client, Mrs. Grace, adding that it was a family dispute.

“I am not a part of their family dispute. I did not procure the fake death certificate. I was only the lawyer of the deceased and managed her family estate until her death,” he said.

Speaking further, Oduwole stated: “You should get his siblings to respond to the fake death certificate because I am not from their family. If he is alleging anything against me, I expect him to report to the police and the police should in turn invite me. I am yet to get any invite from the police on this.

“Did this Bassey tell you he was in a lawsuit with the mother before she died? Did he also tell you he converted some of his late father’s property to his? I insist you get his siblings to talk on this matter.

A source (name withheld) at SCIID, who claimed knowledge of the matter, said Udoh had presented a Deed of Assignment between him and the deceased but that Bassey had insisted the signature of his late mother on the deed was forged.

He said the Police had written to the Forensic Laboratory Science, Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Annex in Alagbon Close, Ikoyi for the examination and comparison of the disputed signatures.

He said they were yet to get a feedback, as that will also aid the investigation of the matter, which he regarded as complex.