Family of Nigerian student murdered in Cyprus cries out for Justice

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
Gabriel Soriwei, murdered in Cyprus

The family of a Nigerian student, Gabriel Soriwei, who was killed in the North Cyprus city of Nicosia, has cried out to the Federal Government, relevant authorities and indeed all well meaning Nigerians for intervention.

Gabriel Soriwei, (20), was a first year student of Electrical/Electronic/Engineering at the Cyprus International University, Nicosia, in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus when he was knocked down by a female driver on July 13, 2013.

As a result of the impact of the accident, Gabriel reportedly fell into a coma and eventually died on September, 7 2013.

In a statement signed by the deceased father, Patrick Soriwei, the family said that the authorities of the Cyprus International University on September 12, flew Gabriel’s remains “via the same Turkish Airline he flew in February to us as cargo for us to clear.”

Patrick said that while the family has “accepted the reality of the painful loss of our child, 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.

The family insisted that it “unjust that the authorities of Cyprus are hiding the identity of the woman who killed our child from the family. The police authorities in Cyprus insisted that it was the practice in their country to ensure that such a person was shielded from the family of the victim.

Patrick Soriwei alleged that the police told him 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.

“Painfully, our investigations revealed that the 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 by the family 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 of the rights of Nigerians in a foreign country as a priority.”

The family said that 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,” it said.

The family said that following the lackadaisical attitude displayed by the school authority, the government of Cyprus and the Nigerian Mission in Ankara, it was forced to write to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the leadership of the National Assembly, with copies of the letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Turkish Embassy in Nigeria, and others.

The statement stated that “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 our aid in the search for justice over the killing of this innocent Nigerian child.”

“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,” it said.

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