The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has disclosed that repatriating the remains of Chibuikem Emmanuel, the Nigerian medical student who was tragically murdered in the Philippines on October 23, 2023, allegedly by Chinese nationals, will require a financial outlay of N35 million.
This revelation was communicated by Michael Ojuola, a close friend of Emmanuel, who shared the information on the social networking platform X. Ojuola detailed the brutal circumstances of Emmanuel’s death, stating that he was mercilessly attacked by a group of Chinese assailants who bound his hands, covered and tied his mouth, and subjected him to severe physical abuse until he succumbed to his injuries.
Ambassador Enya Francis, the Director Consular at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, affirmed during a Senate investigative hearing that the ministry is actively engaged with the Embassy in the Philippines and is closely monitoring the situation. According to Abdur-Rahman Balogun, spokesperson for the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Francis highlighted the cost implications of repatriating Emmanuel’s remains, estimating it to range from N31 million to N35 million, contrasting with the alternative of cremation in the Philippines, which would cost between N10 million and N15 million.
Emphasizing the urgency of the matter, Francis underscored that the daily expenses incurred at the funeral home were accumulating at N30,000. Blessing Essien, Emmanuel’s elder sister, appealed to the Federal Government, specifically through Senate committees, for assistance in bringing her brother’s body back to Nigeria for a proper burial, citing the family’s desire to uphold Igbo tradition.
Chairman of NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, informed the Senate Joint Committees on Diaspora and Inter-Governmental Affairs and Foreign Affairs that charges of murder had been filed against Emmanuel’s employer in the Philippines and five others. She provided updates on the actions taken by the Nigerian embassy, including collaboration with Philippine authorities, evidence gathering, and the initiation of murder charges by the Mandaue City Prosecuting Department.