20 January 2014

Nigeria: Cyprus Varsity Absolves Self of Blame Over Nigerian Student's Death

Cyprus International University has said investigations are ongoing into the death last September of one of its Nigerian students.

It however said it cannot be held responsible for the circumstances surrounding the drunk-driving death of Gabriel Soriwei.

"It is difficult to see how any university can be held accountable for off-campus incidents during the summer holidays," said Patrick Douse, director of the international office of CIU, based in Nicosia, North Cyprus, at a briefing last weekend in Abuja.

"But perhaps the emotions and lack of closure has led some to seek cause and effect and attribute blame where none exists," he added.

First-year electrical-electronic engineering student Soriwei, 20, was involved in an accident last July and was hospitalised, initially in a coma, until his death in September.

The school has admitted the driver of the car that struck Soriwei was a "young female" but the family insists the school connived to keep her identity secret.

There has also been "suggestion that she had been drinking," said Douse.

Considering Cyprus is a predominantly Muslim country where alcohol is forbidden, Douse said he didn't think the drinking claim was "feasible, but I don't have any evidence otherwise."

Little detail about the circumstances of Soriwei's death has emerged from ongoing investigations, but the school insisted it had kept the deceased's family up to date at every turn from his hospitalization and especially after his death when investigation heightened.

The family claimed it had not been reached by authorities of CIU four months since Soriwei was buried.

Douse said the school hoped "the family can come to terms with their loss, and that the investigation reaches their conclusion so the full disclosure of the facts can be in the public domain."

The university's attempt to open admissions this year came under flak from House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, which attacked what it called moves to lure students to Cyprus, claiming CIU wasn't duly accredited.

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