The Director, International Office, Cyprus International University, Patrick Douse, has apologised to the family of a Nigerian student, Gabriel Soriwei, who was killed in the North Cyprus city of Nicosia.
Gabriel, 20, a first year student of Electrical/Electronic Engineering at the university located in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, was knocked down by a female driver on July 13, 2013.
As a result of the impact of the accident, he fell into a coma and eventually died on September 7, 2013. The university authorities flew his remains via Turkish Airline to Nigeria five days later.
Douse said he was sorry for the way the university handled the incident, noting that the institution had put in place measures to prevent a recurrence of such incident.
The CIU director was making a presentation for prospective students in Abuja on Tuesday when a member of the Soriwei family, Fidelis, tabled his family’s grievance, particularly the refusal of the Cypriot authorities to bring Gabriel’s killer to justice.
Fidelis complained that the CIU authorities did not send a condolence letter to the family or reach out to them over the sudden demise of their son who was a student in their school.
He said, “The Soriwei family is very aggrieved over the sudden death of our son and the nonchalant attitude of the Cyprus International University authorities who did not deem it fit to even send us a letter of condolence. 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Cyprus have refused to disclose the identity of the woman that killed our son and even the dollars in his account was withdrawn with his ATM card that was in police custody; this shows how corrupt the police in Cyprus are.”
Fidelis also pointed out the tense and unstable political situation in Cyprus, saying his investigation indicated that it was only the Republic of Turkey that recognised Cyprus as a sovereign nation.
But Douse, who listened patiently, said that the political situation in the country was being resolved, adding that there were about 700 Nigerian students at CIU whom he said were doing well.
He said, “In every city in the world, people have accidents, but that doesn’t change 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.”
Douse explained that the identity of the driver of the car that killed Gabriel was being withheld by the police because investigations had yet to be concluded.
The Soriwei family had earlier petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Assembly and the National Human Rights Commission, and called for an investigation into the tragedy.