The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, United States, has said a Nigerian entrepreneur, Izuchukwu Madubueze (aka Izu), shot himself dead in a suspected case of suicide over an allegation of sexual assault.
A Twitter influencer and self-acclaimed female rights activist, Nanichi Anese, had on June 29, 2020, tagged the 23-year-old as a sexual offender.
The creative designer was said to have been bombarded by calls from his friends, who queried him about the allegation.
Izu then contacted Anese, whom he claimed to be a friend, to get the details of his accusers.
However, she said she had sworn to protect the ladies, just as she also claimed that the women declined his request to speak to them.
Izu, in a series of tweets, expressed frustration over the matter, insisting he had never abused any lady in his life.
“I am still pretty clueless as to who this is, so if you feel comfortable enough, please feel free to reach out to me so I can understand wherever I went wrong and make amends and do better overall,” he tweeted.
The Anambra State indigene later tweeted through Crowdfire app on July 17 that he had killed himself.
Crowdfire app allows users to schedule their posts.
We contacted the Tampa Police Department for confirmation of the suicide, and was referred to the police spokesperson, who said the matter was not handled by the department.
The officer, who did not identify himself, however, said there was a case of “shooting” which was handled by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
He noted that the incident happened outside the main city.
An official in the Sheriff’s Office told our correspondent that she was not authorised to share information on the telephone.
The Public Information Office of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, in response to an email from our correspondent, said Izu shot himself on Thursday, July 16, 2020.
“Izuchukwu Madubueze was the victim of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 16, 2020. The case is open and active and no further information will be provided at this time,” Deputy Travis Sibley, a spokesman for the office said.
A friend of the deceased, Nelson Greyhood, confirmed the police statement to our correspondent, adding that the King’s College alumnus was devastated by the allegation against him.
Izu’s family, in a statement on Wednesday, expressed sadness at the death, describing it as shocking.
The family said the unproven allegation of sexual abuse damaged the reputation of the victim and his company, Uhuru Designz.
The statement read in part, “Sincerely, a part of us has been chipped away forever. Izu was a truly inspiring and kind-hearted young man, who always tried to positively impact the lives of everyone he came across. He was accused of ‘non-physical sexual assault’ and his name added to an unauthorised sex offenders/rape list.
“Pleading his innocence, Izu tried his best to reach out to his anonymous accuser and the peddler of this list, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. He battled with the unimaginable pain of seeing his credible name and brand, which he laboured to build for six years, go to waste over these questionable allegations, which go against his family and societal values. Broken by the stigma of these events, he chose to depart this world.”
The family added that while awaiting the outcome of police investigation, there should be no more “defamatory comments and write-ups” against the deceased.
The Madubuezes said they had also forgiven those behind the allegations against Izu.
The family added, “However, we cannot stop justice from taking its full course. Nobody else has to be a victim of false rape accusations whatsoever. Nobody else has to go through this unimaginable pain in a bid to clear their name.
“Our family will be at peace so long as the death of our beloved son serves as a deterrent for false accusations, especially false rape accusations by people with sinister motives.”
Anese, who had early deactivated her account, returned to the social media on Tuesday.
She insisted that she only accused the deceased of harassment.
Our correspondent observed that Izu was among more than 100 names compiled by Anese on her timeline.
She also added the men’s details and warned her followers to avoid them “for safety purposes.”
Anese identified Izu as an alumnus of the University of South Florida, the main audience of her tweets.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for her arrest and prosecution on change.org, which started on Monday, has been signed by 34,845 people as of 5.30pm on Wednesday.