March 3, 2024

N4m compensation: Corpse of 15-year-old girl abandoned in A’Ibom mortuary

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N4m compensation: Corpse of 15-year-old girl abandoned in A'Ibom mortuary

Abasiofiok Inyang

The corpse of a 15-year-old Precious Emmanuel Edet who died in a road accident allegedly caused by a construction company truck has yet to be laid to rest one year after the incident, even though the construction company involved had paid N4 million as compensation to the family of the deceased.

It would be recalled that the deceased teenager who hailed from Ikot Akpabio but lived with her grandmother in Asua, Nsit Atai Local Government Area, died in December 2022 in an accident allegedly caused by a company water tanker truck belonging to a construction company, DPL Construction Ltd.

Our correspondent authoritatively gathered that, after the death of the teenager, the oil company through its representative, paid the sum of N4m to the family as compensation and cost for the burial of the victim.

The said N4m which was paid through a DPL Construction Ltd representative, one Engr. Innocent Polycarp Effeh in a transferred transaction through Access Bank on January 12, 2023, was acknowledged by Mr Raphael Bassey, who eventually shared “N3m to some members of the family” and N1m allegedly kept by “an unknown person” pending the “burial date” of the deceased that had yet to be fixed a year after she passed on.

Our correspondent further gathered that after Precious’s death (a secondary school student), the company played hide and seek game until the intervention of good Nigerians, the State Ministry of Works and Commissioner for Housing, Mr Raphael Bassey who ensured the payment of the said N4m compensation.

However, instead of channelling the said compensation through the father of the deceased, Mr Emmanuel Edet Effiong who is a poor fisherman, who nurtured the deceased even after the mother of the deceased died in 2018, N3m was allegedly given to the grandmother of the deceased, one Mrs Bassey Michael Ekpenyong.

It, however, took the intervention of the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Atai Local Government Area, HRM, Edidem (Prophet) Okon Peter Effiong before N500,000 could be given to the father of the deceased.

Rather than use the N1m balance to organise the burial for the deceased, a twist about the paternity of the girl has come to the fore while the corpse is still in the mortuary.

The grandmother, who has been allegedly backed up by people, not related to the deceased, denied the paternity of the father, whose name she bore and who trained her from primary to secondary school before the unfortunate accident that claimed her life.

The paternity of the deceased and compensation thereof is now a subject of litigation before Uyo High Court 8 in Suit No. HU/117/2023.

It was gathered that the owner of the mortuary had threatened to dispose of the corpse due to huge debt. The father of the deceased teenager who spoke with our reporter in tears, called on the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians so that he could bury his daughter.

When contacted, the State Commissioner for Housing, Mr Raphael Bassey who acknowledged that the corpse of the teenager has yet to be buried one year after she died, decried the delay, saying that “it is unfortunate”.

On the allegation that Bassey is stalling the burial of the girl, he stated, “It is blackmail. I don’t have any hand in stalling the innocent girl’s burial. How can I do that to a small girl?”.

He said that apart from the court case which was a result of the sharing of compensation money by the deceased family, some people wanted to play politics with the corpse of the victim”.

He, expressed optimism that “Precious will be buried soon”, adding that “There are moves for out-of-court settlement”.

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