A Nigerian PhD student has died in the custody of the Immigration Department of Malaysia. Thomas Orhions Ewansiha died on Tuesday while under detention at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Depot.
Director-General of the Immigration Department, Khairul Dzaimee who confirmed the death on Friday, said the deceased had a seizure in his sleep.
Dzaimee said the department is still awaiting the post-mortem report as well as a full medical report to identify the cause of death.
Channelnewsasia in a report said Ewansiha was among 20 foreigners picked up in an operation on July 4 at Desa Aman Puri in Kuala Lumpur, following tipoffs from the public.
According to Dzaimee, Ewansiha reportedly attempted to flee during the operation but was captured. He later produced his passport and was found to be holding a valid student pass upon further checks.
“The action of the subject in trying to escape created doubts on the validity of the student pass held by the subject,” he said, adding that since the deceased was suspected to have committed an offence under the Immigration Act, he was held for 14 days for further investigations.
The immigrations boss explained further that while undergoing the documentation process at the Kuala Lumpur Immigration office, Ewansiha was provided with basic medical treatment by Civil Defence Force personnel for an old wound on his right leg, but that he did not mention that he had any other illness.
He said the detainees ncluding Ewansiha, were sent to the Bukit Jalil Immigration Depot at about noon the next day were treated “appropriately” in accordance to the standard operating procedure (SOP) during detention.
At about 12.05am on July 9, the officer on duty was informed by the other detainees that Ewansiha “suddenly” had a seizure while sleeping.
“The Special Medical Unit on duty immediately examined and treated the subject and contacted Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital (HUKM) for assistance,” said Dzaimee.
The assistant medical officer – who arrived with the ambulance at 12.30am – examined and assisted Ewansiha, but the student was later pronounced dead.
Following the incident, the supervisor and officer on duty lodged a report at the Bukit Jalil police station.
Limkokwing University of Creative Technology said in a statement on Friday that it was informed of Ewansiha’s death.
The 33-year-old was pursuing a PhD in Management at the university and leaves behind a wife and two young children.