If you visit the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Higher Ground parish in Oluti, near Agboju in Lagos, and ask for the Pastor of the Youth Fellowship, you won’t find him. His name is Nonso Maduakor and he has been in detention since the 20th of August 2012.
On the 11th of July 1987, Mrs Maduakor gave birth to Nonso, her second child, a year after her first daughter. The secondary school teacher lost her husband to death in 2004, a few months before Nonso was admitted to study Pharmacy at the Igbinedion University in Edo State. Nonso had finished from Kings College, Lagos, in 2003 and his WAEC certificate was grade B in all subjects except Igbo where he scored an E.
At the Igbinedion University, Nonso was the best graduating student in his class and President of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students, Okada Chapter. Nonso is an outspoken Chelsea fan and that’s the only offense some of his friends have against him, minus his dull coloured clothes. He was a leader at Christian Fellowship International, a campus arm of Church of God Mission Inc. Not to mention the recommended glasses he had to wear since primary three at Learning Field Primary School, Satellite Town. You can imagine how uncool that was amongst boys but he succeeded in making those glasses look cool.
The Igbinedion University had its accreditation for her pharmacy degree programme delayed for years. Nonso received provisional registration from the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria in March 2012 to enable him commence the compulsory one year internship. Mrs Maduakor was happy, her son was one of the first set of pharmacists from the University and they said he was the best.
In May 2012, Nonso began his internship with Oxpharm, one of the largest chains of goods and drugs stores in Festac Town. Mrs Maduakor watched her son leave for work from their Satellite Town residence and knew that he would be a licensed pharmacist after a year. Until then and according to the rules of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, Nonso would train under a Superintendent Pharmacist. On the 20th of August 2012, Nonso did not return home after his morning shift. At the moment, Mrs Maduakor is about to lose her son to the jailers for a very long time.
On Monday, 20th of August 2012, an aged policeman in plainclothes arrived at Oxpharm. He wanted to buy Rohypnol for his sleepless nights. He told Nonso a lie about a car accident and his inability to sleep at night due to body pains, restlessness and nightmares. The old man was silent about his police badge, irrelevant information to buy drugs but essential to set up another man. Nonso sold him a sachet of Paracetamol and Rohypnol. Flunitrazepam is the compound name of Rohypnol and it is used to manage anxiety disorders, insomnia and restlessness, and also prescribed with an antihypertensive to patients with High BP. It is also a prescription drug like most of the drugs on sale in any pharmacy. And like most of the sales in Nigeria’s pharmacies, it was sold without a prescription note from a medical doctor.
What you didn’t expect was the grateful buyer and his colleagues at the Nigerian Police to return, after ten minutes, to arrest Nonso for the murder of Cynthia Osokogu who was killed on the 22nd of July 2012. She was the daughter of Major General Frank Osokogu (rtd) and had been invited to Cosmilla Hotel at Amuwo Odofin in Lagos by her Facebook friends. This was where she was raped and murdered, a fact unknown to Nonso and his mother.
Nonso was never implicated by any of the alleged killers; he has never met them before and didn’t sell Rohypnol to any of them. The alleged killers have been apprehended, Nonso should not take the medicine for another man’s crime. The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria has issued a statement dated 30th of August concerning Nonso’s case: the sale of drugs without prescription is not a criminal offense but a professional breach of ethics. “The law provides that such matters are dealt with by the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, a regulatory agency of the Federal Government established by Cap. P.17 LFN 2004.”
Elijah Briggs, 25, first class graduate of Law, LL.M (Southampton) and currently serving at the Nigerian Law School in Yenagoa, was roommates with Nonso at the university and spoke of Nonso’s character and disposition, so did his close friend and fellow pharmacist Funmi Oshinowo. Nonso’s name is associated with the above names and other responsible names attached to this document and do not belong to the Ikoyi Prisons’ roaster. Brandishing him with crimes he didn’t commit is the same as brandishing his friends, colleagues and family. This unfair and unjust imprisonment of Nonso is a crime against humanity. Today an innocent man is in jail and you might be the next.
We, the friends of Chukwunonso Maduakor are saying: Nonso is our friend and we are not friends with a murderer.
Amatesiro Dore, 24, Writer.
Elijah Briggs, 25, Lawyer.
Funmi Oshinowo, 25, Pharmacist.
Oluwaseyi Adeoshun, 26, Computer Scientist.
Onatufe Edebi, 25, Medical Doctor.
Aladokiye Gabriel Whyte, 25, Lawyer.
Chinedu Blaise Okoroafor, 26, Lawyer.
Stephen Menkiti, 24, Engineer.
Imoh Edem, 24, Political Analyst.
Adeola Adefisoye, 23, Pharmacist.
Obaze Osaze, 24, Pharmacist.
Iretunde Oshinowo, 30, Urban Planning.
Jennifer Ifebigh, 22, Pharmacist.
Henry Iloanugo, 24, Pharmacist.
Obiajulu Obi, 25, Pharmacist.
Ifeanyi Nwaizu, 25, Microbiologist.
Ovie Olakpe, 25, Lawyer.