“The compensation would cover the “unwarranted arrest, incarceration and colossal loss of the breadwinner of the family.”
The family of a former distributor at Rite Foods, who died in police custody, has demanded a N700 million compensation from the company.
Ademola Adedeji, 39, died of heart attack on February 9, according to the police, after he was arrested for allegedly issuing dud cheques that ran into millions of naira. The cheques were issued to Rite Foods for goods purchased.
In a letter submitted to the coroner, during the inquest, Wednesday, the family stated that the compensation would cover the “unwarranted arrest, incarceration and colossal loss of the breadwinner of the family.”
While asking the court to admit the letter as evidence, Clement Eko, counsel to the deceased’s family, said that the management of Rite Foods, through their solicitor, had already received the letter but have not responded.
R.O Ali, counsel to Rite Foods, “vehemently refused” the admission of the evidence.
“This document has no corollary to the inquest,” Mr. Ali, who was standing in for Bambo Adesanya, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said.
“An inquest is to establish the cause of death and this document, ipso facto, has no nexus with such,” Mr. Ali added.
Another letter from the deceased family’s lawyer asking for the release of his van was also tendered before the court.
Tajudeen Elias, the coroner, admitted both documents as evidence in the inquest.
Mr. Eko told the court that the Rite Foods management had refused to release the deceased’s van to his family since his death despite several efforts made to recover it.
“The said vehicle, still stocked with the goods he bought that day worth N400, 000, is still being detained,” Mr. Eko said.
“Upon the death of the deceased, a letter was written to the company. Among the issues was the release of the vehicle, but the company declined receipt of the letter. The letter was returned by the courier as ‘undelivered’,” he added.
During cross examination, Innocent Osuji, Chief Security Officer at Rite Foods, said that no member of the deceased’s family had come to claim his vehicle.
Mr. Osuji also stated that after the incident, the Rite Foods management put up a public notice in a national newspaper directing all enquiries and complaints to their solicitor.
“All the goods he bought that day, we took account of it and handed it over to the Accounts section to debit his account with us,” said Mr. Osuji.
Mr. Elias adjourned the inquest until September 12.