Ikechukwu Eneanya, a lung cancer patient who was imprisoned in 2020 without trial on the orders of Enugu State Governor, Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, died in the early hours of Sunday morning at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu.
FIJ learnt that Eneanya had collapsed in Enugu Prison two weeks ago as he was getting out of bed. He was found to have pneumonia. His brother was called and he was taken to UNTH where he did a series of comprehensive tests and was found to have accumulated fluids in his lungs which warranted an operation.
“He was operated upon on Thursday and was getting better. Considering he had lung cancer, the condition became protracted and he died at midnight,” a source close to the family said.
Eneanya was charged for causing local war at Igga Community in Uzo-Uwani LGA and was locked up in Enugu Prison without trial. The imprisonment of Eneanya was as a result of a dispute on a communal piece of land that was sold to an agricultural company. Herbert Ukuta, the King of Igga community who claimed the land was sold without his knowledge, got Eneanya and Barrister Vincent Okonkwo arrested. The two men had been in custody without trial for almost eight months.
Eneanya had appeared before the Enugu High Court and even when his lawyer had asked that he be given bail based on his condition and his inability to take his needed medicines, it was denied.
Speaking to a lawyer, he told FIJ that under the law the judge should have given bail considering the offence was not a capital issue and Eneanya had underlying health issues .
“Ikechukwu Eneanya presented evidence of his health conditions, but was denied bail. The condition got worse in detention and at late hours, he was taken to UNTH Enugu for medical attention where he stayed about a week, and early hours of today, he gave up,” a family member told FIJ.
With the constant adjournment of the case, believed to be due to the influence of Ukuta , the two men remained in prison.
Okonkwo, who is currently imprisoned at Nsukka Prisons, has also had his case adjourned several times. He currently remains in prison without trial.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.