Family of dead hotel worker petitions commission
THE family of the late Chibuike Edeh, a worker with Protea Hotel, who died while in police custody two days after he was said to have been arrested for allegedly stealing N48,000 from a guest in the hotel, has demanded N500 million as compensation for the loss of their son.
The death of 27-year- old Chibuike in early March sparked a series of protests by his family members, friends and civil society groups, who accused the police of complicity in the controversial death.
The family had complained that after mobilising the said “stolen” money to secure the release of their ward, they were greeted with his death, instead of his release, alleging that he was knocked down by a Toyota Camry vehicle as he tried to escape, while leading police operatives to recover the stolen money from a fence between Protea Hotel and an NNPC mega filling station along Sapele Road.
The family, through its lawyer, Dele Igbinedion of Dele Igbinedion Chambers, in a letter dated May 7 and addressed to the Chairman of the Commission, accused the Nigeria Police of “unlawful killing and or negligence in the death of the 27-year-old man.”
The family also demanded the same amount as damages from the management of the hotel and the Edo State Hospitals Management Board where he was first rushed to by a “good Samaritan” before he was taken to University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) where he was said to have died.
The family threatened to institute a legal action against the three parties if they failed to comply with the demand.
They said: “Instead, Chibuike Edeh, who was then bleeding profusely, was referred to UBTH, Ugbowo, a distance of more than six miles from the Central Hospital.
“In the event, valuable time was lost in organising for an ambulance to convey Chibuike Edeh through the heavy Friday evening traffic in the busy Benin streets and roads to UBTH, eventually arriving at UBTH at about 6.40p.m. Unfortunately, Chibuike Edeh had lost too much blood and eventually died 25 minutes after arrival at exactly 7.15p.m.”
he family, according to the letter, said that it did not agree with the position of the police on the matter, saying neither the police nor the CSO of the hotel, took any action to provide medical aid for the deceased after the alleged motor accident.
“Instead, both the Police and the Chief Security Officer of Protea Hotels abandoned him. In the circumstances, we have been instructed to (and we do hereby firmly) demand that your commission should pay the sum of N500 million, as compensation to our client’s family for the negligence of the police officer(s) which caused the death of Chibuike Edeh.
“In the event of your failure to comply with the above demand, accept this letter as a one month notice of our client’s intention to institute civil proceedings in the Federal High Court against the commission, the Nigeria Police Force, etc,” the letter read.
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