Missing phone: Family of murdered hotel guard demand justice

The family of Sunday Ezra, a 28-year-old security man at New Trafford Hotel and Suites, located at the Gwallameji area of Bauchi metropolis, who was beaten to death over a phone he was accused of stealing, have demanded justice.

The late Ezra was a staff of a private security company known as Executive Guard. He was reportedly wrongly beaten to death last Monday by persons suspected to be his co-workers and some customers in the hotel. The incident took place when an old mobile phone got missing within the premises of the hotel and the deceased was suspected to have stolen it. But he vehemently pleaded his innocence, to no avail. They descended on him and beat him until he became unconscious.

The deceased’s grandmother, Saratu Fidelis Limga, told Daily Trust Saturday that the family was devastated and only justice would comfort them.

“We want the government to take action. We demand justice for our son who was unjustly killed.

“You know how it feels to lose a loved one. I feel very bad. I could not sleep on Monday because the condition I saw him was sympathetic. I learnt that the owner of the hotel was the first person that started beating him and subsequently ordered his boys to deal with him. This is inhuman. They said it was a small tecno phone that does not worth more than N1,000,’’ she said.

She described her grandson as very honest, trustworthy and jovial.

Also speaking, Ezra’s grandfather, Fidelis Limga, said he couldn’t believe that his grandson was dead. “What we want is justice for my grandson. It was after he was killed that someone returned the phone, saying my grandson didn’t steal it. I want the police to do their job as expected and ensure that justice prevails over those who committed this crime,’’ he said.

A relative of the deceased, Nathaniel Kiki, who was the first from the family to visit the scene of the incident, told Daily Trust on Sunday that after beating him, his assailants covered his body with grass while he was still alive. They also stripped him naked.

“When I arrived at the hotel with our grandmother, we saw him on the floor, covered with grasses. There was no cloth on his body. I removed the grasses and called him and he answered. I asked if he stole the phone and he answered, “I have never stolen anything from anyone. You know me very well. What am I going to do with a stolen phone? He asked me to take him to the hospital because of the pains he was going through?’’ Kiki said.

“What is more painful to us is that after the wicked attack, a corps member found the said phone and returned it to the police. And the phone is not up to N1,000,’’ he added.

Also, the manager of Bauchi office of Executive Guard, Musa Silas, said the deceased joined the services of the security company a month ago, adding that one of their criteria for employment is that the applicant must be have proven integrity.

“We depend on personal information and findings within the environment of the applicant before employment. During our findings, as well as relationship with the deceased, we discovered that he was a good young man. He was also a member of the vigilante group in his community, which encouraged us to offer him our job since he had experience in maintaining peace and order.

“I feel very sad at what happened to him because I was part of the people that took him to the hospital. I saw the extent of brutality meted out to him. It is very unfortunate that we lost a hard-working young man,’’ Silas said.

A friend of the deceased, who is also a security man at the Lutheran Church of Christ (LCC), Yelwa, Yohana John, said Ezra was a very religious and honest person who didn’t even argue or fight with anybody. ‘Sometimes, out of trust I would leave my duty post for him, and nothing ever happened or got lost in my absence. There’s no history of immorality, theft or drug abuse concerning my friend. He wouldn’t have stolen any mobile phone. Many people will miss him, especially friends and colleagues,’’ John said.

When contacted, the police public relations officer, Bauchi State command, DSP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, confirmed the incident, saying five suspects had been arrested in connection with the incident. He added that investigation into the incident had commenced.

He said the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Efforts to speak with the late Ezra’s co-workers at New Tripod Hotel were not successful because the hotel was under lock and key.

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