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Nigerians call for probe into juvenile death

Nigerian Association of Kolkata has asked for a probe into the death of Arahi Zundu Joel, a 17-year-old Nigerian footballer, at a juvenile home in Agartala on Wednesday.

Joel was accused of faking his visa and arrested by customs officials on September 6 at the Akhaura check post in Agartala when he was allegedly trying to enter Bangladesh, Times of India reports.

A local court sent him to the juvenile home on September 14 as he was below 18 years of age. He was being tried under Section 471 of the IPC, relevant sections of the Foreigners Act, 1946, and Section 174 of the CrPC.

Two members of the association arrived here on Friday and met the authorities of the Tripura state juvenile home. They demanded proper arrangements for flying Joel’s body to Nigeria and an impartial inquiry into the matter.

Kamela, one of the members of the association, alleged Joel might have been killed in the juvenile home. However, Rina Chakraborty, who is in charge of the home, said Joel fell ill on Tuesday when he was brought to the court for a hearing. He was immediately taken to hospital, she added.

On Wednesday, Joel’s condition worsened and he was shifted to the Agartala Government Medical College where he died.

Meanwhile, fellow Nigerians and friends of the deceased alleged that Joel’s body bore several injury marks. They accused Chakraborty of being negligent about Joel’s treatment and failing to provide him adequate security in the home.

An autopsy was performed on Saturday at the AGMC hospital and the body has been handed over to the association members.

Police said Joel came to India in 2010 to play football for some south Indian clubs, but remained in the country even after his visa expired. Joel was the fourth Nigerian national charged with visa forgery and illegal entrance through different border areas of Tripura this year.

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