The lifeless body of a 65-year-old man was found Tuesday hanging in an uncompleted lift inside a Nigerian high court building after he fell in the premises while trying to find a toilet.
The deceased, Moses Airhiagbonkpa, who is a father of five, was in the Edo State High Court in Benin, the capital, for a case relating to land dispute when he fell from the fifth floor of the court complex and died, according to local reports.
An official explained that the deceased was at Court 10 and had gone to urinate but didn’t ask for directions. He subsequently went through a door he thought was the toilet and fell to his death.
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“We used to have a lift that has gone bad and this administration is fixing it. The company carrying out the renovation work removed the old lift and is still working on it. The MD of the firm said there was a ribbon indicating no passage but that I cannot say anything about,” said the official who pleaded anonymity.
A relative of the deceased, Johnson Obanor, who was also in court, spoke to journalists on the incident.
“We came here this morning, the three of us and we entered the court and sat down before the arrival of our lawyer. We later discovered that the court is not sitting. When our lawyer came, she went to the table to take a date.
“He (the deceased) got up and told us he wanted to urinate and we told him to return early so that we can go home after the lawyer has taken a date.
“We waited for a long period but he did not show up. So, we assumed he has gone downstairs to wait for us where we parked our vehicle.
“Then, I told the other man that we should go to the parking lot to check if he was there, but unfortunately we did not see him. We sat down in the vehicle and tried to contact him but he was not picking his calls.
“We decided to search for him within the premises and met a lawyer who asked us to join the crowd to climb the staircase.”
“Sadly, we met our brother lying down on the floor and someone said he fell from upstairs. They traced the blood and found he got stuck (in the lift hole),” Obanor was quoted by PM News Nigeria.
The tragedy attracted a large number of people with other relatives of the deceased blaming A&K Construction, the firm handling renovation of the court complex for the incident.
The construction company is yet to comment over the incident while security agencies have launched investigations.