FG orders investigation into death of undergraduate at Ibadan factory

The Federal Government has set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the mysterious death of Late Richard Gbadebo, an undergraduate student of the University of Ibadan, while working in the premises of Expand Global Industry and HENKEL, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The decision to institute the panel of inquiry was sequel to investigation of the accident by the Occupational  Safety and Health  Department of the Federal  Ministry of Labour and Employment; and in line with Factories Act. CAP F1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Barrister Femi Aborisade of the Abope Chambers, on behalf of the family of late Richard; as well as the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Oyo State Chapter; and the International Lawyers Assisting Workers  ( ILAW) Network, Nigeria Chapter; had on 24, August, 2020, written the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, to “institute a commission of inquiry into the death of Richard Gbadebo in the course of working in the premises of HENKEL Nigeria Limited and Expand Global Industries Limited.”

The letter, signed by Barrister Aborisade was titled: “An open call for a commission of inquiry into the death of Richard Gbadebo …”

The letter read: :We have been briefed and our services retained by the family of Late Richard Gbadebo, as well as the Alliance On Surviving COVlD-19 And Beyond (ASCAB), Oyo State Chapter and International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW) Network, Nigeria Chapter, with presence in 56 countries of the world; all of whom are hereinafter referred to as Our Clients, on whose behalf and instructions we write this petition calling for a commission of inquiry into the horrible death of Richard Gbadebo in the course of working within the premises of HENKEL Nigeria Limited  and Expand Global Industries Limited.

“This call for a commission of inquiry is predicated upon Article 11(d) of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention No. 155 of 1981 on Occupational Health and Safety and Sections 33 to 36 of the Trade Disputes Act.

“Article 11(d) of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention No. 155 of 1981 on Occupational Health and Safety provides that the competent authority or authorities shall ensure the holding of inquiries where cases of occupational accident, occupational diseases or any other injuries to health which arise in the course of or in connection with work appear to reflect situations which are serious.”

However, in a letter dated 5 October, 2020 with reference number ML.OSH/03/27/1/36; and signed on behalf of the Minister of Labour and Employment by the Director, Occupational Safety and Health, in the Ministry, Mrs Adogu, Lauretta Nneka, said a Panel of Inquiry to investigate into the fatality has been approved and set up.

The letter addressed to the Managing Partner, Abope Chambers, Oke-Ado, Ibadan, assured that more vigorous and robust investigation into the death of the victim will be carried out.

It read: “Your letter dated 24th August, 2020 refers, please, sequel to your request for a commission of inquiry into the death of Late Richard Gbadebo, in a fatal accident that occurred at the above named factory premises on 28th July, 2020, and subsequent investigation of the accident by Occupational Safety and Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment Ibadan, a Panel of Inquiry to investigate into the fatality has been approved and set up by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment.

“Please, be informed that sequel to the directives of the Honourable Minister, more vigorous and robust investigation into the death of the victim will be carried out on the factory premises by the Panel of Inquiry. The date for the visit of the panel members will be communicated in due course.

“While looking forward to your presence at the factory premises. please accept the watm regards of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment.”

 

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