Law school student writes about the death of the Rivers’ state’s Chief Judge’s son

Wariebi Abiri, the son of the Chief Judge of the state, Kate Abiri
(pictured above), died while swimming in a pool in Abuja on Friday
August 19th. Wariebi was a law student at the Nigerian Law School Abuja.
A student that witnessed the tragic incident has now blogged about it.
He shared his story which he titled ‘From helper to suspect in a homicide case. 96 hours in hell’ which he shared

Friday 19th of August 2016 changed my life totally. I had an experience that I never imagined possible.
of the Nigerian Law School in Bar Part I, have just finished lectures
for the year and different people felt the need to gather and celebrate
events that followed are better imagined than being the reality of
anyone. I arrived the venue, a hotel across the Law School, at about 8pm
and met a few students having drinks and food around the premises. I
went into a friend’s room to rest and charge my phone.
while later, I came down to speak to a few people and exchange
pleasantries. People were dancing and discussing in small groups. The
whole thing started winding down at about 11:30pm, as most people had to
return to the law school premises before the 12am curfew.
people who remained in the premises were chatting close to the gate and
watching some people play games of table tennis close to the gate. At
about 2am or so, there was a loud scream that someone was in the pool.
Everyone turned and was wondering why anyone was in the pool at that
time. The scream came again and indicated the person was drowning. There
was commotion and everyone ran towards the pool. Two students went into
the pool and brought out the person. A few people tried to administer
CPR including mouth to mouth. I was shouting to get him to a hospital. A
friend brought out her car to take him to the hospital, but the hotel
management said to take him in their vehicle. In the midst of all the
confusion that followed, some of us realised we didn’t know who was in
the bus with the victim and we should drive behind them to the hospital.
got to the hospital, General Hospital, Bwari, where we met the doctors
administering CPR, removing water from his system and trying to
resuscitate him. We gathered outside to pray. At some point, the doctor
asked for the closest person to him and his roommate stepped forward,
the doctor then pronounced him dead and said he was (BID) brought in
dead. Some of the students present, requested to transfer him to a
private hospital. At this point, the doctor called some of us aside and
explained the standard medical steps and procedures that had been taken
to resuscitate the victim and why he concluded he was dead. He advised
that the police be informed and his body transferred to a morgue. It was
at this point I pulled his roommate aside and asked for the name of the
victim. He said his name is Wariebi. I mentioned I had never met the
victim or interacted with him, but it was sad that this had happened. I
tried to console him, but I broke down myself. We agreed to inform the
Nigerian Law School in the morning and they would inform his parents.
made payment for the card and other things in the hospital. I was
consoling the female students present and had to get them back to their
accommodation. I asked some of the students to inform the police and the
doctor to arrange for him to be deposited in a morgue. I followed the
ladies back to the hotel, where they stay. We had to inform other
students present.
went by and we were told that the Police needed us to come and write
down what happened as witnesses. We all willingly got dressed, got in a
bus provided by the hotel and went to Bwari Police Station for what was
to be a routine statement by witnesses of such a tragic event. Myself
and two other colleagues made statements of what we witnessed and also
met his roommate and other people who had assisted to get him to the
hospital making statements as well. We all made statements and thought
to leave, only for the Investigating Police Officer to inform us that we
were all being detained as suspects in a case of ‘Suspected Culpable
Homicide’. Everyone was shocked and thought he must be joking. We are
all law students, with knowledge of the law and we had only helped a
colleague in distress. To then hear the words Suspect, Culpable and
Homicide sounded very outrageous to us all. We were all worried and
tried to contact authorities of the Nigerian Law School.
were ‘processed’ and transferred to a cell. Word had gotten out and the
authorities of the Law School came and paid us a visit. After listening
to our side of events, they apologised that we were being held for
helping a colleague and promised they will help to get us all out. They
repeated the visit later in the day and said investigators were working
to get to the bottom of this and to get us out. The Director General of
the Law School, Dr. Onadeko (SAN) visited us later in the evening and
said he would be in touch and would ensure we weren’t treated as other
‘suspects’. At this point I objected to him referring to us as suspects
and also asked him if that was the official position of the Nigerian Law
School? Were we being seen as suspects rather than a group of law
students who helped a colleague in distress? It was in the middle of our
interaction with the DG that I heard the victim’s full name for the
first time. The DG said his name is Wariebi Abiri and that his mother is
the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State and a friend of his.
were returned to the cell and we later discovered that the police had
granted bail to the General Manager of the hotel and a member of his
staff. We demanded to know why we were being kept and the hotel
management was being let off the hook. Same hotel that had no safety
measures to prevent such an incident? Same hotel that had no lifeguard
around an open pool? No answers were provided.
dragged for 48 hours before we were eventually granted bail on the
orders of the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command. We were asked to
report to the station daily until investigation was completed.
reported to the station on Monday and were transferred to the State
CID. A case of helping a colleague was really snowballing into a real
homicide case and we found ourselves as the suspects.
must state that the professionalism of the officers of the Homicide
dept at the FCT CID saved the day. They berated the investigating
officer from the local station for even bringing us there. We made fresh
statements and have now become witnesses in a case of negligence. Truth
be said, a few high level calls were made to ruin/save the day. The IGP
and CP FCT remained very professional and helpful.
has been granted some respite, albeit temporarily and can’t even thank
God enough. Can’t thank all the friends and family members who came
through and who made sure one didn’t suffer for being a Good Samaritan.
Your prayers and all saw us through this harrowing ordeal.
is important to understand how facts are not sacrosanct around here. I
saw some of the most horrible twists and turns in my life in just 48
hours. I saw lives being toyed with, for political gains. We thank God
that a few things were done right by a few professional officers and
innocent people were saved such a nasty experience. I saw a different
side of the Nigerian Police Force. Competent and incompetent ones, but I
genuinely believe the competent ones are at the top. I live in a
country that can be stranger than fiction sometimes. I now understand
why people are genuinely afraid to help others in need. No one wants to
become a suspect for rendering help.
grateful to be here telling this as a story and an experience. It could
have gone a totally different way. Let me now get to processing the
fact that I lost a colleague and was one of those that saw him dead. No
one remembered that in all of this madness.
Ignore all the grammatical errors. My head is still all over the place,
but I thought to share this. Thanks for reading my epistle.
-Chairman/Presido Cell 2. ?

Tireni Adebayo

Tireni Adebayo is the Editor of Kemi Filani News.She has BSC in Mass Communication from the Redeemer's University and M.A in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos (2014 - 2015) where she majored in Public Relations and Advertising and Digital Media.  When she is not writing, she is either listening to music or reading her favorite books.Tel: +2348000000901 Address: Herbert Macaulay, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria Email: [email protected]

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