The family of Gabriel Soriwei, a Nigerian student who was killed in the North Cyprus city of Nicosia, has cried out to President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the National Assembly to help in their quest for justice.
Soriwei, 20, was a first year student of Electrical/Electronic/Engineering at the Cyprus International University in Nicosia when he was knocked down by a female driver on July 13, 2013.
The student fell into a coma and eventually died on September, 7. On September 12, the authorities of the Cyprus International University flew his remains to his family through the same Turkish Airline by which he had arrived in that country in February to clear as cargo.
While the family says it has accepted the reality of the painful loss of their, child, they say his death has raised some issues about the value placed on the life of the Nigerian outside the shores of this country.
“First, neither the Cyprus International University nor the family of the woman who drove the car that killed Gabriel has found it necessary to at least write to the family to condole with us on the death of this young man who until his death was contributing to the economy of Cyprus by paying school fees as a foreign student,” they said in a statement signed by his father, Patrick Soriwei.
They described as “unjust” the fact that the authorities of Cyprus are hiding the identity of the woman who killed Gabriel, noting that the Cypriot police insisted that it was the practice in their country to ensure that such a person was shielded from the family of the victim.
“The police told the father of the deceased, Mr. Patrick Soriwei, during a visit to Nicosia that the Turkish woman lost control of the vehicle which knocked down Gabriel. It was however gathered that the woman was drunk even though we have no proof of it. The police said that the woman was detained for three days and released.”
Similarly, the family said that its investigations revealed that the Cyprus International University, which was said to be pursuing the case and which is host to about 700 Nigerian students, has shown lack of interest in the issue. Several entreaties made to the school authorities to send the belongings of the late Gabriel to Nigeria have been ignored.
“We have informed the Nigerian Embassy in Cyprus and the mission there does not seem to see this screaming demand to defend the rights of Nigerians in a foreign country as a priority.
“The best the Nigerian Mission in Ankara has done was to send one Uche to the university to find out the cause of the death. The Mission has not rendered the necessary assistance in getting the police to write a report on his death. This delay in writing this report, we believe, is inspired by a plot to subvert the process of justice in this matter.”
The family said it has therefore written to President Jonathan and the leadership of the National Assembly, with copies of the letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Turkish Embassy in Nigeria, and others.
“While the Soriwei family intends to pursue this matter to the best of our abilities, we urge the Federal Government and all Nigerians of good conscience to come to our aid in the search for justice over the killing of this innocent Nigerian child,” it said, adding that the life of a Nigerian child should be treated more decently than that of a stray animal.
“The situation doesn't seem to be different in this case.”