Death By Unnatural Death of a Nigerian

Death by unnatural death of a Nigerian in Malaysia immigration custody, I am sure many people would like to know what is the truth behind this untimely death. This innocent foreigner is a Nigerian student pursuing his PhD in a Malaysia university. He died on 09-07-2019 and leave behind a young wife and two young children.

immigration custody
Snippet of news report of Nigerian student death

Introduction to case of death by unnatural death

It is therefore of great concern to the international community to get to the truth regarding this death through an independent inquiry. This death of an innocent man while in immigration custody impacts every foreigners and their human rights.

For this particular case it is also important to determine accountability. This is a death of a foreigner with a valid student pass but yet detained in immigration custody.

As such, it is highly applicable to all foreigners coming into Malaysia for visit, business, study or staying like MM2H visa.

The real point behind this post is this: No one, including the DG of Malaysia Immigration gets to decide the fate of any foreigner in Malaysia, whether to live or to die. This is all the more so for persons who are lawfully in the country for visit, business or staying.

Case brief of a death by unnatural death

According to the DG: The statement noted that immigration director-general had claimed that Thomas had suffered from a seizure while sleeping as the cause of death. He also claimed that he was verified dead by an assistant medical officer.

Every news story carried this , “died from seizure”, “died in his sleep from seizure” but is this claim true? Or is it due to death by unnatural death that needs further investigation to come to the truth.

immigration custody
Snippet of news report of death by unnatural death on 4th Nov 2019

Why write a post on this death by unnatural death

Though I have no relation to this deceased Nigerian student, however we shared many similarities and the same experiences with the Malaysia Immigration authority.

Here is a list of the many similarities:

  1. He was in Malaysia lawfully doing his PhD studies and residing with a long term valid student visa. I was also in Malaysia lawfully residing under the “Make Malaysia Second Home (MM2H)” visa.
  2. He was in immigration custody for 14 days in Bukit Jalil immigration detention facilities, while I was in immigration custody for 28 days in Pekan Nanas detention facilities.

As such and having a first hand similar experience, I sure could enlightened many more for public awareness.

Immigration custody detention facilities is a living hell

2.a. The life inside these inhumane and cruel immigration detention centers are describes in detail in these few posts:

SOP includes torture during immigration custody

3. There is an immigration standard operating procedures (SOP) pertaining to arrest and detention center’s requirements. One of the requirement is all detainees have to do the naked squat torture described below:

On the day I was transferred from Kluang jail back to Pekan Nanas detention center, I was put through a full body search prior to being locked up in the cell. We were gathered in small groups to go inside a small search room This is my second time going through this procedure. We were ordered to strip completely naked. Next we were ordered to do strenuous naked body squats continuously many times. Prior to that, I have declared my asthma condition and such strenuous actions almost triggered an asthma attack me as described in point #4. However, during my earlier detention processing, one of the guard intervened and excused me from doing the strenuous body squat. This is because I have declared my asthma condition.

3.a. It was apparent that the deceased Nigerian student does not have a history of fits or seizures. Firstly there was no declaration record of such medical history. Then, according to news published stating he had a fit seizure meaning that he must have a history of prior fit seizures in his medical record. His family could well know whether he have such a history. If he did had this medical condition, his family would not be fighting to challenge this DG’s version of “fit seizure”. She has every right for an official inquiry into circumstances surrounding his death because of Thomas was in immigration custody. So either Immigration can provide record of his declaration of such medical history to prove this point or it is not the case.

Medical history and records

  1. b. I have a history of asthma and medical record of asthma attacks.
  2. I will elaborate on one such asthma attacks around Feb 2017 and how it can be a life and death situation. After a long wait during a transit flight in Cebu airport I was feeling fatigue. As I started to walk to the boarding gate for boarding, I found myself breathless. Immediately I approached an airport staff and told her: “I need assistance.” She immediately activated airport emergency service. An airport staff with a wheel chair was dispatched to take over. Immediately they rushed me to the airport doctor. My boarding was aborted while the airplane waited for the doctor’s decision. The doctor immediately treated my condition and stopped my flying. If my asthma attack happened in mid journey in the air, I would have no chance. What was the actual situation with the deceased that ends up with him not able to survive?
immigration custody
Record of MC for asthma attack before plane boarding

Assault by violent guards is common during immigration custody

5. An assault by guard/guards. Whether there is an assault by any guard that can trigger his condition? I do not know whether any assault happened to him but it happened to me:

5.a. I had my bible with me and sought permission from the guard to bring with me and one of the guard approved it.
5.b. During the full naked body search, all of our items, including our clothes and bible were put in the middle of the room. We were then body search and torture with the naked body squat.
5.c. After the search we had to retrieve our things in double quick time. During the retrieval and upon seeing me collecting my bible, one of the fanatic guard turned violent and attacked me.
5.d. I fell headlong to the street hard ground and one of the guard came to help me. He helped check whether my spectacles broke. This kick and my fall was clearly an assault. Having such a fall is even worse for an older man like me.
5.e. The point is that I was fortunate that the torture and the assault did not triggered any of my medical conditions. However we do not know whether any of these factors caused the death by unnatural death for this Nigerian student.

Involvement of senior officer

The above story can be verified because a senior three-pip immigration officer became involved with the guards for the return of my confiscated bible.

On the day of my release, they assigned a senior immigration officer to escort me back to Singapore during repatriation. Through this senior officer, I demanded my bible back from the immigration guards. However they arrogantly refused to return and insisted that it was not with them. I protested strongly that this is unlawful to retain my personal property. I persistently pressed the senior officer on this matter. On the other hand, the guards were adamant that the bible was not in their possession. It was only after quite a few attempts that he was finally able to retrieve my personal bible. Most of the guards in this hellish detention facilities certainly exhibit uncivilized mindset.

No emergency activated nor assistance provided during immigration custody

  1. For certain period prior to his lockup in the cell, they would not allowed him to communicate with anyone. In such circumstances, no one except only immigration personnel actually witnessed what caused his death by unnatural death. Or they may heard from 1st party account of his experience and events leading to his death. However, there is no way any immigration personnel would tell the incriminating truth. Even other detainees would not testify in this kind of environment. I was also not allowed any communication even in the event that I am in a life-threatening situation that needs life-saving assistance. Because I was inside your center and I am an independent party, I can tell the truth according to what I experienced and witnessed. Point #7 is my experience and what I witnessed.
  2. He experienced a medical condition that requires professional medical personnel’s assistance. I too, experienced a medical condition that requires professional medical personnel’s assistance. However they put me through a very long painful wait because there was no guard available to escort me to the clinic.
    Also there is a long queue at the clinic for new arrivals’ visit. Time is of an essence for emergency and life-threatening condition. The standard operating procedures do not allowed for that in the immigration detention center.

Many factors supporting an unnatural death

I almost had the same outcome as the deceased while in your custody. Within 17 weeks of my release, I experienced a heart attack.

It was divine protection that I was released and back in Singapore when that happened. I received medical care in the most professional and timely manner that I survived. If not, I will have the same fate as this deceased.

To convince everyone that the deceased died while in his sleep is simply unbelievable unless you can provides more concrete medical proof. If no medical proof, any one of those causes listed above could be the reason for this death by unnatural death while in immigration custody.

So we must get to the truth for answers and accountability from the Immigration Department and the Home Minister of Malaysia and demand justice for this Nigerian student and his family.

Timeline of events of death by unnatural death

Because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding this death by unnatural death, the Malaysian Bar make a public call for an official inquiry. This call for official inquiry into the Nigerian’s death was made on 16.07.2019. There were also calls made by two Members of Parliament. This official inquiry is to give a true and unbiased report of this death.

The wife of the deceased wanted answers from the Malaysia authorities. She then engaged Malaysian lawyers to file an application for an inquest into her husband’s death on 16.08.2019.

On 04.11.2019, the lawyers for the family of Thomas Orhions Ewansiha makes a statement through the press. They said the police had yet to submit their investigation papers after four months from the incident.

The Malaysia government conducted a court inquest into Thomas Orhions Ewansiha’s death on 02.01.2020, after about six months from his death.

News report pertaining to this court inquest provides sketchy details. Such sketchy details leave Malaysians shocked, and Nigerian citizens living in KL incensed. Snippet of this news ( is shown below.

Death by unnatural death
snippet of news from on court inquest on 02-01-2020

More developments from outside of the court

However less than two weeks before the court inquest, on the 20-12-2019, the Suhakam commissioner had issued statements. On his own accord, he released information on details of medical issues publicly. Snippet of this news ( is shown below.

death by unnatural death
Snippet of news report by on Suhakam Commissioner’s statement on 20-12-2019

The lawyer for the deceased’s wife called this Commissioner’s action “appaling”. He also warned that this may prejudice the court inquest into circumstances surrounding his death.

On the 10th Jan 2020 was another hearing before the next hearing date on 13th Feb 2020. Snippet of this news ( is shown below.

Death by unnatural death
Snippet of news report by on 10-01-2020

Any new updates on progress of court inquest and up to case closure will be included when information are available.

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