Did 20-year-old Margeret Adiya Ikumu die of natural causes? Did she authorize her friends to bury her and not allow her family access to her body after her death? Who are these friends of hers and where have they ran to?
The above are issues investigators at the Lagos State Police Command would have to unravel following a petition submitted at the weekend by the late Ikumu’s family.
The distraught family on Tuesday read about the death of their daughter on her Facebook page (Margaret David).
It was gathered that the deceased, a native of Idoma in Benue State left the village last year with no one knowing her whereabouts.
The young woman was said to have lived her early years in the city with an inlaw who relocated her back to the village upon completion of her secondary education.
Unknown to the family, Ikumu returned to Lagos but not to any of her relatives. It was after the news of her death broke that they discovered she was living with her friends, Marvellous Mary and Nneka Buddy (Facebook accounts that have now been deactivated).
In the petition dated May 15 and signed by Tony Iji, the family alleged that when they saw the obituary comments on their sister’s Facebook wall, they tried to call her mobile phone 0811377322 but it has remained switched off.
They also contacted one of the ladies alleged to have stated they lived together with who she sent pictures of a wrapped body and a casket telling them Ikumu was for burial on Thursday.
“It was Marvellous Mary we were in touch with on her number 07040869026. She sent a note that Margaret authorized them to bury her when she died and that they should not allow us access to her body.
We do not know what killed her nor what would have made her leave such a note, that’s if indeed she did. She told us they were burying her on Thursday and that she died on Monday.
“The lady insulted family members and accused us of not taking her of our sister when she was alive. We are still in shock over all that has happened and do not understand it yet.
When we insisted, the lady threatened to destroy the sim card she used to chat us so that we cannot reach her again. They also deactivated their Facebook accounts.
“All efforts we made to locate them in order to stop the burial were unsuccessful. We sent people around Lekki and Ajah areas with her photograph and other things we believed she could be identified by but no one knew her.
We contacted the police in Ajah but were told that since we do not know the exact location, it might not be within their jurisdiction. So, we had to petition the Commissioner of Police on Friday,” Iji told our Correspondent on the telephone.
Urging the police to investigate circumstances that led to the death and burial of Ikumu, the family said another contact it had was that of one Sylvester who claimed to be the deceased’s boyfriend.
“The other person with little information about late Margaret is one Sylvester who claimed to be her boyfriend. He said that he learned about the death of Margaret through Marvelous and Nneka but does not know where they live, though he is aware that late Margaret was living with them.
“To this end, the family is in a state of the dilemma on how to get to the root of the story surrounding her demise. This has cost the family of late Margaret a lot of trauma, especially her mother who is insisting on seeing the body of her daughter if she is truly dead.
“We, therefore, appeal to the police authority under your leadership to wade in by investigating the incident with the view to establishing the facts and circumstances surrounding her death and eventual burial without the knowledge and consent of her family,” it said.
Checks on Ikumu’s Facebook page revealed that she might have hinted about her death on May 4 with her last post: “Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth. Who knows if this will be my last smile..
The Nation gathered that Ikumu and Sylvester last met last year though they spoke on phone during the lockdown period.
A source who refused to be named said the deceased was a hairstylist and worked at Marvellous Mary’s saloon on the island.
“I do not want my name in print, please. I am too young for all these. What I know is that Margaret was sick. She was bleeding from the nose and was to undergo nose surgery. I do not know if she died in the cause of the surgery or before or after it.
“She worked at the woman’s saloon and lived at her place. I think there were issues with her family but she did not open up much,” said the source.
Efforts to reach Marvellous on her mobile number provided were unsuccessful as the number was switched off.
Hers and Nneka’s Facebook names could not be located at the time of this report.
Contacted, spokesman for the police Command Bala Elkana confirmed the petition was received, adding that investigation was ongoing.