Nigeria: Oyo Investigates Death of UI Student At Ibadan Factory

The Oyo State Government says it has commenced investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of Richard Gbadebo.

Mr Gbadebo, a 300-level student of the Department of European Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, died last month at a factory in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Bashir Olanrewaju, disclosed this on Thursday when he led a state government delegation on a condolence visit to the residence of the bereaved family in Ibadan.

Mr Gbadebo died after falling into a soap-making machine at a factory owned by Henkel Nigeria Limited, manufacturers of WAW detergent and bar soap, The Cable reported.

He was said to have enrolled for the holiday job as an operator at the company, amid the coronavirus pandemic which had led to closure of schools.

The 21-year-old, who was on night shift at the company located at Oluyole in Ibadan, allegedly fell into the machine, which crushed him to death in the process.

It was gathered that his colleagues at work were not aware of the situation until they saw blood gushing out from one end of the machine.

According to a statement by Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Seyi Makinde, the state government has begun a safety audit of the factory and would ensure that necessary sanctions are meted out on the company upon completion of investigations.

The state government also assured that compensation will be given to the bereaved family.

Mr Olanrewaju equally emphasized that the current administration under Mr Makinde remained committed to ensuring that no resident of the state suffers injustice or undue exploitation irrespective of social status.

He said, "We are here to condole the parents of the deceased and to inform the family that measures are being taken by the government to ascertain the cause of Richard's death."

"The administration of Engr. Seyi Makinde will ensure that justice is served so as to prevent the recurrence of an event like this in the future. So, the government will get to the roots of this gruesome incident and give due compensation to the family of the deceased."

While receiving the government delegation, the father of the late Richard, Shola Gbadebo, demanded for the CCTV footage of the scenes where his son died, noting that a thorough investigation must be conducted in order to truly ascertain the cause of his death.

Mr Gbadebo insisted that before any attempt to initiate talks with the family by management of the soap factory, the family must be assured that there was no foul play or conspiracy in his death.

The father of the deceased expressed grief over the demise of his son, noting that he had endured harsh economic realities just to ensure the late Richard and his elder sister concluded their university education before the unfortunate incident.

"What I want to say is, the issue of compensation does not arise now. My son could become Governor or President in future if he is alive. So, I don't care about what they will offer me.

"My appeal is that the government should assist me to pressurize the company to show its CCTV footage so that the whole world will see how my son died," Mr Gbadebo stated.

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