Family To Sue Hotel, Police For Death Of Cleaner | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Family To Sue Hotel, Police For Death Of Cleaner

Posted: Jun 10, 2015 at 4:34 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Francis Onoiribholo  –  Bureau Chief, Benin


THE family of late Chibuike Edeh, a staff of Protea Hotel, Benin, the Edo State capital who died on 14th March, 2015 while in the custody of the police has threatened to take their case to the law court.

The family is demanding N5 million each from the police and the Edo State Hospital Management Board for the death of their son.

Chibuike, a cleaner at the Protea Hotel was arrested by the hotel’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) following a complaint from a guest that the sum of N40, 000 was stolen from his room.

Chibuike Edeh

Chibuike Edeh

The deceased was later detained at a Police Station along Sapele Road, Benin being the last person that entered the room.

Reports had it that soon after his detention; a message was sent to his mother, Christiana Edeh, who took steps to secure his bail.

In the process, she said she was told her son died during investigation the police. However, the deceased later was found along Sapele Road by a Good Samaritan who took him to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) where he was confirmed dead.

According to her, she saw her son hale and healthy at the police station where he was detained and that the police asked the family to pay the N40,000 before her bail request could be granted.

When the family took the money to the station at about 12 noon that same day, they were told to come back by 3pm because all the policemen were on duty at the Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium because of former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan was visiting the state that day

The woman told Daily Independent Metro that: “I last saw my son at the police station where he told me he did not steal any money. There was no injury on his body.  We were told that the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) was not available. About two hours, later I asked my children to go back with the money and they were told that Chibuike was no longer there.
“They were told that he was taken to Protea Hotel for investigation. I was called at about 10pm that his body was found at a hospital. When we got there, we observed that he had a broken neck, burnt on his back and several cuts on his body.

“We were aggrieved  and we demanded from  to the hotel management information about my son’s death and we were turned down.”

The family latter raised the alarm which attracted the public attention and some  members of civil society groups who joined them to shut down operations of the hotel and sat at the entrance where they had a running battle with the security personnel throughout that day but  no property was  destroyed.

When contacted the then Edo State Police Spokesman, DSP Joseph Edoigiawerie,  confirmed the incident.

According to the PPRO, “a case of stealing was reported by the management of Protea Hotel where the deceased was working.”

He said the suspect was arrested at the Adesuwa Police Station and while there, he made a confessional statement admitting stealing the money and further confirmed that the theft was captured by Protea Hotel CCTV camera.

He said the suspect also told the police that the money was kept on the fence of the hotel by the NNPC mega filling station along Sapele Road.

He said it was when the IPO and the CSO of the hotel went with him to recover the money that he (Chibuike) took to his heels and in the process was knocked down by a Toyota Camry car.

“The driver of the car was arrested at the central MTD (Motor Traffic Division. On the burnt body of the victim, the PPRO said, “I’m not detailed for the investigation and I wouldn’t know the course. If a vehicle knocked down somebody and the fellow died, I can’t imagine that the body parts of that person will still be very much complete, if we have to go by that”.

However, in a letter addressed to the Chairman, Police Service Commission and the Permanent Secretary, Edo State Hospitals Management Board respectively by the family through their counsel, Dele Igbinedion, they accused the police and CSO of Protea Hotel of negligence over the deceased’s death.

The lawyer said:, “Our clients informed us that the late Chibuike Edeh died on the 14th March, 2015 in connection with Police investigation into alleged crime. When the Edeh family demanded for explanations, the Edo State Police Command claimed that on Saturday 14th, March 2015, while Police Officers were accompanying late Chibuike Edeh on investigative activities, Chibuike Edeh was knocked down by a vehicle which dragged him along an estimated distance of about 500 feet.

“Fortuitously, the driver stopped the vehicle opposite the premises of the Area Command and then abandoned it.”

The lawyer said neither the IPO nor the CSO of the hotel took urgent step to take the deceased to the Police Medical Centre which is about two streets away from the scene of the accident, but abandoned him to his fate until passersby took him the Central Hospital, Ring Road, Benin from where they were referred to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital Benin, a distance of about six kilometers.

The family accused doctors, nurses and senior staff on duty at the Accident/Emergency Ward of the Central Hospitals of negligence by refusing to provide him with urgent medical attention, instead they referred the deceased who was bleeding profusely to UBTH and he died 245 minutes later after arriving at the hospital at about 7.15pm.