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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Aloba Family Challenges Autopsy Report, Seeks Fresh Probe Into Mohbad’s Death

Representatives of the Aloba family have challenged the toxicology test results regarding Mohbad’s passing, seeking further clarification and investigation.

During a press briefing held via Zoom on Monday, legal practitioners Wahab Shittu (SAN) and Taiwo Odumosu, Esq., criticised the handling of the procedures, expressing serious concerns about the integrity and thoroughness of the police and medical team’s investigation into Mohbad’s death.

It should be noted that the US-based lab denied the Lagos State Government’s claim that the toxicological test was conducted at their facility.

The disclosure came in response to Punch’s inquiry, which led to an investigation into the musician’s cause of death.

Gbenga Omotoso, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, stated during a live phone call with Ahmad Isah, the anchor of an Abuja-based online programme, Brekete Family, in February 2024, that the toxicology test was being conducted at the NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, USA.

However, a pathologist testified before the Coroner’s Court on May 15, revealing that an autopsy couldn’t determine Mohbad’s cause of death due to the decomposition of his body.

In response to PUNCH Metro’s inquiry on May 17, Esther Dede, Client Services Associate, Forensics Division, NMS Labs, claimed, “Unfortunately, we do not have a case for that patient.”

While quoting the report, Shittu argued that the government’s silence necessitated a reconsideration of the toxicological tests.

Shittu, who claimed there were contradictions about NMS Labs’ involvement, said that the facility’s letterhead and address appeared on the toxicology report despite the laboratory’s contradictory comments about their real engagement in the testing procedure.

He said, “We, the legal representatives of the Aloba Family, express our profound dissatisfaction and disappointment with the recent announcement regarding the toxicology test results of the late Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, which have been declared ‘inconclusive’ by the pathologist. This outcome is entirely unacceptable to us and the Aloba Family and raises serious concerns about the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation by the police and the medical team into the untimely death of their beloved son, brother, and friend. The Aloba family and, indeed, the whole world demand to know where the toxicology test was carried out as this has impugned the integrity.

“Following the news report in the Punch Newspaper of 31 May 2024 titled ‘US Lab Denies Conducting Poison Test on Mohbad’ and the silence that followed from the government, a review of the toxicology test must be necessary. The legal team wonders how the letterhead and the address of the National Medical Services Laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA appeared on the toxicology test report if the test was not truly carried out in the USA.

“The legal team is puzzled more, given the discrepancies in the further response given by the NMS laboratories ascribing the test to another sister laboratory. The conflict of interest bothers professional integrity. The public is interested in knowing the relationship between the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Laboratory, NMS in the USA and ITSI Biosciences who allegedly completed the toxicology test on behalf of the Lagos State government.”

Shittu described Mohbad as a bright and promising young man whose untimely death left an enduring hole, but he also claimed that the autopsy’s “inconclusive” verdict did not provide the necessary clarification and damaged the public’s and his family’s confidence in the investigation.

However, the legal team sought that the toxicological tests be re-examined by an independent and recognised forensic laboratory to ensure transparency throughout.

The team also advocated for a thorough evaluation of testing techniques to avoid procedural errors or contamination, as well as the participation of foreign forensic specialists to oversee and confirm the re-examination process.

It insisted on complete transparency in providing all toxicology test findings and reports, pushing for urgent attempts to re-examine the samples and provide clear answers as soon as possible.

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Furthermore, the legal team chastised the Nigeria Police for what they saw as insufficient effort in the inquiry, and called on the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to intervene.

“The Aloba Family remains steadfast in their pursuit of truth and justice for Ilerioluwa. They deserve clear, definitive answers regarding the cause of his death, and it is the responsibility of the investigative bodies to provide them with such clarity. The current ‘inconclusive’ results only serve to prolong their agony and uncertainty, which is both unfair and unjust.

“Considering the Coroner Inquest, we appeal to the presiding Magistrate to ensure that an independent toxicology report is submitted to the Coroner’s Court before submitting the final report to the authorities. Presently, we have an application before the Coroner Court seeking approval to conduct an independent autopsy and toxicology test. We call on the presiding magistrate in the matter to expedite a hearing on the independent autopsy and toxicology application. That is the only way justice can be served in this case,” the statement added.

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