The Federal Government has inaugurated a commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Richard Gbadebo, a 300-level student of the University of Ibadan who died in the course of duty at a factory in Ibadan on July 28.
This was prompted by the actions of Femi Aborisade, Managing Partner, Abope Chambers, who, acting on behalf of the family of late Richard Gbadebo; the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond in Oyo State; and the International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network, had on August 24, written the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr, Chris Ngige, to call for the inauguration of a commission of inquiry into circumstances surrounding Gbadebo’s death in the course of carrying out his duty at Henkel Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Expand Global Industries Limited.
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The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, in a letter titled, ‘Re: Accident investigation into the death of late Richard Gbadebo in the course of working on the Premises of Expand Global Industries Limited (Henkel), Ibadan, Oyo State’, said the Federal Government had set up the commission.
The letter, which was signed by the Director, Occupational Safety and Health in the ministry, Mrs. Nneka Adogu, on behalf of the Minister, read in part, “Sequel to your request for a commission of inquiry into the death of late Richard Gbadebo in a fatal accident that occurred at the above named factory on 28th July and investigation of the accident by Occupational Safety and Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ibadan, a panel of inquiry to investigate into the fatality has been approved and set up by the Minister of Labour and Employment.
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“Please, be informed that sequel to the directives of the minister, more vigorous and robust investigation into the death of the victim will be carried out on the factory premises by the panel. The date for the visit of the panel members will be communicated in due course.”
A copy of the letter on the inquiry, dated October 5 and received by the Managing Partner, Abope Chambers in Abuja, was made available to journalists in Ibadan, on Saturday.
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Reacting, Aborisade said, “It is a step forward in the struggle for a safe working environment in Nigeria. The setting up of the commission of inquiry may indeed be the first of its kind in the history of industrial relations in Nigeria.”