Still tears for Pamela Onyeukwu, one year after
Family decries shoddy prosecution of LAWMA truck driver
Time, they say, heals all wounds, but for family members of 25-year-old graduate, Pamela Onyeukwu, it is still an open sore one year after the unfortunate incident that claimed the life of beautiful Pamela.
Palema, the microbiology graduate and former employee of Etisalat, had on March 18, 2015, taken her sister, who was going for a job interview in Victoria Island, to Coca Cola Bus Stop, Ikeja, around 5:00a.m. She was returning home to prepare for the day’s job when a truck belonging to the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) rammed into her Toyota Matrix car in the Oregun area. She died on the spot while the driver was arrested.
More than a year after, family members say they have lost confidence in the police’s ability to prosecute the driver, Ibrahim Are, who allegedly killed Pamela. They said the police prosecutor in charge of the matter was yet to forward the case file involving the driver to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions as ordered by an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court, where he was arraigned in April, 2015.
According to Pamela’s father, Charles Onyeukwu, his daughter was the breadwinner of the family.
“She was our cornerstone. It has been very traumatic to see her depart in such a tragic way. But our pains are not assuaged by the way the police and the state government are trying to sweep the case under the carpet.
“On the sad day, at around 6.00a.m., a policeman called me that my daughter was involved in an accident around Oregun and that I should come immediately. The policeman took me to the Alausa Police Division. On getting there, he took me to a senior officer’s office, who told me that my daughter had died. I was told the truck driver was coming from opposite direction without headlamp at that time of the day.
“We later understood that the police granted the driver administrative bail. We were not in court when the case first came up in April because we were still traumatised. On February 29 this year, the matter came up again and we were there. It was mentioned that the police had not served a copy of the case file to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for advice.
“The magistrate adjourned the case till May 9 and said if the police failed to send the case file to the DPP by the next adjourned date, he would strike it out. Should a case that involves life be treated shabbily like this? We believe the Commissioner of Police should be able to get to the root cause of this matter.
“The LAWMA Managing Director (MD) then, Mr. Ola Oresanya said he was sorry on behalf of the agency. He promised to participate in the funeral. The MD came back in April and said the management had decided to give the family N1 million as compensation. Is the N1 million worth her life or the car that was completely written off? He left and came back, saying he had on his own added N250,000. We rejected it and since then, LAWMA has not contacted us.
He, therefore, called on the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, to prevail on the prosecutor to ensure that justice was done on the case.
The Lagos State Police spokesperson, DSP Dolapo Badmos, when contacted said the command would allow the law to take its course. “The incident happened a year ago when the present CP had not been transferred to the command. The police will look into it and make sure that the right thing is done,” she said.
An official of LAWMA, who pleaded anonymity, said they were also not working in the agency when the incident happened, but would await the outcome of the case in court.