UI Student’s Death: Falana-led Group, Other Petition Oyo Govt, Seek Justice

A group ,the  Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond(ASCAB) led by Femi Falana  and International Lawyers Assisting Workers(ILAW),Oyo State chapter have petitioned the Oyo State Government over the death of a 300-level student of University of Ibadan, Ricard Gbadebo, in soap factory in Ibadan.

Gbadebo was a factory worker with Expand Global Industries and its sister company,Henkel Nigeria Limited,who allegedly slumped and died on the morning of July 28 while working as a shift worker at the plant of the company’s Ibadan plant.

According to the lawyers,the company was callous and negligent in providing adequate security measures in the plant which led to the death of the deceased while it also refused to provide the family with details of the death there by causing additional grief to the family.

In the petition ,filed by the law firm of Abope Chambers led by activist,Femi Aborisade and copies of which were sent to the Oyo State Director of Public Prosecution, was made available to journalists in Ibadan on Monday evening.
The groups  said the the company failed to provide the necessary Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) and fencing of very dangerous part of any machinery.

This negligence, it stated could have been avoided and which led to the death of Gbadeo who was killed by the machinery he was working with.

The firm called on the state government to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Gbadebo,a 300 level student in the Department of European Studies and only son of the family who accepted to earn some income during the COVID-19 lockdown to augment the families income.
The law firm on behalf of ASCAB and ILAW also called on the state government to ensure justice for the deceased and ensure that employers of labour take seriously the life ,safety and health of workers by providing the necessary PPE for workers.

It asked the state government to invoke section 211(1) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and institute criminal proceedings against the two companies and their managers in the public interest as wee as the interest of justice.
The groups said:”The Alliance On Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond (ASCAB), Oyo State Chapter and the International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW) represent the interest of the public and the international community of pro-labour lawyers in ensuring justice for the deceased Richard Gbadebo. As the Late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa aptly puts it.
“Unless the Oyo State Government ensures justice for Richard Gadebo, employers of labour may not take seriously the life, safety and health of workers by providing the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and fencing of every dangerous part of any machinery. It is the concern of our clients that Richard Gbadebo would not have been killed by the machinery he was working with if the necessary PPE was provided and the dangerous parts of the machinery were properly fenced to prevent the kind of calamity that befell Richard Gbadebo.
“The public perception is that pervasive impunity prevails in the Nigerian society because successive Nigerian governments tend to fail to act as prescribed by law where the lives of ordinary workers are concerned. It is the fervent hope of our clients that the Oyo State Government and the office of the Attorney General would not fail Richard Gbadebo, his family and humanity in the instant case. The blood of Richard Gbadebo is crying for justice. Our clients demand justice for Richard Gbadebo”.
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