Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, has informed the Senate Joint Committees on Diaspora and Inter-Governmental Affairs and Foreign Affairs that the employer of Ikem, a Nigerian student beaten to death in the Philippines, has been charged with murder, along with five others.
Dabiri-Erewa made this known at the investigative hearing of the Joint Senate Committees presided over in Abuja on Monday by Sen. Victor Umeh.
Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement signed by the NiDCOM Spokesperson, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Tuesday stated that the Philippines authorities have declared the employer who has since been on the run, wanted.
The NiDCOM boss noted that the Nigeria Embassy had informed the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines and also reported the case to the Inspector General of the Philippines National Police.
She stated that the police team on the case is done with evidence building and presented the case to the Mandaue city prosecuting Department for action; who has evaluated it and deemed it fit for murder case filing.
“They have filed the case and issued a warrant of arrest to the boy’s employee and five other suspects; they are charged for murder, human trafficking and operation of illegal business in the Philippines,” she said.
Dabiri-Erewa who gave the committee, a copy of the pictures of the suspects, said the pictures had been forwarded to all exits in the Philippines to prevent them from leaving the country.
She stressed that the case would be held as soon as the major suspect, still at large, is arrested.
On Nigerians in Ethiopian prisons, she said the official information received is that 160 Nigerians were serving various jail terms under very poor conditions and that over 90 per cent of them were for drug-related offences.
She told the Committees that to decongest the prisons, amnesty was granted to them but the majority of them went back and still committed the same crime.
The Director Consular in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Enya Francis said they are in close contact with the Embassy and are on top of the situation.
Francis said the corpse was yet to be buried as it would cost between N31 million to N35 million to repatriate and bury the corpse in Nigeria as against N10 million to N15 million to cremate it in the Philippines.
He noted that the cost of keeping the corpse at the funeral home is accruing N30,000 daily, hence the need to expedite action on the investigation and take appropriate action.
Speaking on behalf of the family of the deceased, Ikem’s elder sister, Blessing Essien stated that he was the only son of the family and in line with Igbo tradition, it would be an honour to bring the body back to Nigeria for burial.
She therefore appealed to the Federal Government through the Senate Committees to assist the family in repatriating the body back to Nigeria for a befitting burial.