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Family seeks justice over Nigerian medical student killed in Ukraine



It was a pitiable sight last Friday as the family of a 30-year-old Nigerian medical student, Gbolade Ejemai, who was allegedly murdered in Ukraine by one Victoria Popvrako, yelled for justice.

The family, who is yet to come to terms with the death of their pride, who had spent over 10 years to train as a medical doctor abroad, wailed uncontrollably as they narrated the unfortunate incident in their Egbeda home in Lagos.

Ejemai’s traumatic end has put to an end the family’s expectation that after his graduation in few months, he would bring succour to his aged mother and a sibling, especially when the median annual income of a bachelor’s degree-professional of a Nigerian trained abroad is put at about $65,000.

However, his death has shattered the dreams of his family. The Guardian learnt that late Ejemai, a final year medical student of Kharkov International Medical University, had lived in Ukraine for up to 10 years, during which he had made an acquaintance of Ms. Popvrako.


It was gathered that Popvrako, a 36-year-old Ukrainian mother of two, allegedly planned with her father to kill him. She had invited him over to her house to have a discussion, an invitation the deceased had unsuspectingly honoured.

His widow, Victoria Luganska, a Ukrainian national, who narrated the incidence that led to his death in a telephone conversation, said in the early hours of August 9, the late Ejemai informed her that he wanted to ‘quickly’ visit a certain Victoria Popvrako in her house at Traktorostroitelei, in Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city.

Gbolade’s wife, who had been on night duty the previous night and was yet to return home, smelt a rat. “Don’t go,” she had said during their phone conversation. “Why don’t you wait for me to return from duty. I will be back by 8 o clock.” But Gbolade assured her that all would be fine, and he would soon be back.

She said: “At 10:22a.m., I received a distress message from him, which read thus: “Traktorostroitelei 95, 188 apartment, call police there that there is a conflict. As I was trying to do that, he called me again at 10:36a.m., crying and saying that they had stabbed him,” Luganska added.

Before Luganska could get there, she met an ambulance conveying the deceased to the hospital (City Clinical Hospital), where he later slipped into coma.

Also in a telephone chat, Segun Ashade, a friend of the deceased, said the whole incident was master-minded and executed by the lady and her father. Ashade recounted that the deceased narrated his ordeal (on hospital bed), three days after he came out from coma.

He said: “Gbolade said they had an argument, in the room. (The girl’s father, Mr. Popravko was in the house as well on that day). In the heat of the argument, the lady’s father allegedly brought a knife, with which the lady stabbed Gbolade in the stomach. He later heard them saying ‘this is not enough to kill him, get something else!’ The father scuttled in and out of the room and returned with a hammer, and struck Gbolade on the head with it.”

It was reported that after two unsuccessful surgeries, he eventually passed on five days afterwards, (August 14) from complications of the injuries sustained from the incident.

Popvrako, who was initially arrested on the day of the incident, has been granted bail after 24 hours, but the family is craving for justice. Speaking on behalf of the family, Mrs. Tomi Rone, said the matter had already been brought to the attention of Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.

Up to 150 Nigerians living in the diaspora have been murdered across countries such as South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China and Ukraine, in the last three and half years.

Over 15 million Nigerians are living in the diaspora, and they are the most educated immigrant group, well represented across various professional fields, according to data from the commission.

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