Family of Nigerian student killed in Cyprus protest in Abuja

Student’s death is still under investigation in Cyprus

The family of a Nigerian student, Gabriel Soriwei, on Tuesday in Abuja, protested the ‘nonchalant’ manner the Cypriot government is handling the death of their son who died in Nicosa, Cyprus in July 2013.

Gabriel, 20, then a first year student of Electrical/Electronic/Engineering at the Cyprus International University, CIU, Nicosia, was allegedly knocked down by a female driver on July 13, 2013. He went into a coma and eventually died on September 7, 2013. Five days after his demise, the university authorities flew his remains back to Nigeria.

The Soriwei family’s protest was staged during a preparatory seminar organised by the university for prospective students at Rockview Hotel, Abuja

“Cyprus International University authorities did not deem it fit to even send us a letter of condolence,” an uncle to the deceased, Fidelis Soriwei, lamented.

He expressed disappointment over the way the Cyprus police handled the matter, alleging that money was withdrawn from Gabriel’s account using his ATM card that was supposedly in the custody of the police.

“The police in Cyprus have refused to disclose the identity of the woman that killed our son and even the dollars in his account was withdrawn with his ATM card that was in police custody. This shows how corrupt the police in Cyprus is,” he said

The Director, International Office of CIU, Patrick Douse, apologised to the Soriwei family. He explained that the identity of the driver that knocked Gabriel down was being withheld by the police because investigations were still ongoing.

He, however, stated that the institution has put measures in place to prevent a re-occurrence of the incident. He also assured that the political situation in Cyprus was being resolved and noted that there were about 700 Nigerian students doing very well at CIU.

“In every city in the world, people have accidents but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the family is grieving. On behalf of the CIU, I apologise for the incident. We have put in place, measures to ensure that we respond appropriately to incidents affecting our students in future.” Mr. Douse said

The Soriwei family, on October 14, 2013, petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Assembly and the National Human Rights Commission, calling for an investigation into the tragedy.

Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and a member state of the European Union.

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