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    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    What’s The Worth Of Jennifer’s Life?

    Police close case as family of 17-year-old factory worker accepts N500,000 compensation from company
    Despite alleged disparity in the investigations of the death of a 17-year-old girl, Jennifer Onyeche in Lagos, the case has been declared closed by the police after N500,000 was paid to her family as compensation. The young lady was allegedly electrocuted while on duty in a juice factory (name withheld) located in the
    Ketu area of Lagos.Although she has since been buried, autopsy report had debunked claims of electrocution. It indicated that she died of asphyxiation.Saturday Sun learnt that Jennifer, who was still processing her admission into Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), was employed by the company with an agreed monthly salary of N12,000. Two weeks later, her family was informed that their daughter was dead.
    While the company claimed she died of electrocution, autopsy report by Dr. O. O. Lawal of the Pathology Department at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), stated that the cause of death was asphyxia.

    Following cry for justice by the deceased’s family and their allegation of foul play on the part of the Police,  the Lagos State Government, through the office of Public Advice Centre, stepped in.

    According to Alex Bolaji Omorodion of the Public Advice Center, Alausa, shortly after series of publications inspired by the family, the department decided to intervene. “We listened to both parties. The factory pleaded that the matter be settled out of court as their business had suffered greatly. Ever since the incident happened, the company production was stopped as some of the workers were arrested and detained.

    “At the end of series of deliberations, both parties decided to end the matter out of court, while Jennifer’s family accepted a compensation fee of N500,000.”

    The deceased’s family had demanded N2 million as compensation but reconsidered their demand for the sake of the company’s owner, Rotimi Akintan.
    Father of the deceased, Onyeche said the director had kept in touch since the incident occurred and also gave the family N150, 000 for Jennifer’s burial.
    He said: “I know that no amount of money will bring back my daughter. I am not happy with the way the people on ground handled the situation. If they were careful, maybe my daughter would not have died. But the director is the only one who acted differently.

    “He was out of the country the day my daughter died, but he called me that same day. And he also came to my house when he returned from his trip. He was very kind to the family and also assisted us during the burial.
    “We are sad that she had to die that way but we have handed everything over to God and want to move on with our lives. We pray that her gentle soul will rest in peace.”

    An MOU, signed by both parties in the presence of their lawyers, stated that the N500,000 would be given to the family in view of the allegations that the deceased was not properly taken care of.

    The family also agreed that Jennifer was not murdered by the company, its proxies or agents.  They also promised to withdraw the case from the police.
    After the parties had signed the MOU, Akintan promised to maintain the cordial relationship with the family.
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