The Lagoon Restaurant on Victoria Island, Lagos State has been accused of having a hand in the death of one of its staff, Chris Onaghise.
The lawyer of the Onaghises, Festus Keyamo, in a petition to the Inspector General of Police, said contrary to the claim of the management of Lagoon Restaurant that Onaghise slipped and fell into the lagoon while carrying out his duties, there were bruises on his body that suggested a physical confrontation.
Keyamo, in the petition signed by two of the lawyers in his chambers, Festus Ukpe and Benedicta Obanye, said it was even more curious that the police, allegedly invited by the management of Lagoon Restaurant, said it had concluded its investigation even before the corpse of the deceased was retrieved from the lagoon.
He said no effort was made to retrieve the corpse until Onaghise’s father, Orobosa Onaghise, arrived and demanded for his son’s remains.
The petition alleged that despite the fact that the incident was said to have occurred at 10am, the corpse was not retrieved until 10pm.
The petition, titled: “SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF MR. CHRIS ONAGHISE: A CASE OF CULPABLE HOMICIDE AGAINST THE MANAGEMENT OF LAGOON RESTAURANT, LAGOS,” reads in full: We are solicitors to Mr. Orobosa Onaghise (hereinafter referred to as ‘our Client’) on whose instructions we write to you.
Our Client briefed us as follows:
That the Late Mr. Chris Onaghise (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Deceased’) is his son and until his demise, a staff of Lagoon Restaurant, Victoria Island, Lagos. Our client further informed us that on Monday 16th June, 2014, he received a telephone call from a lady (who did not want to be identified) informing him that something tragic had happened to the deceased at his workplace. Our client consequently rushed to the Lagoon Restaurant but despite his best efforts could only arrive there after two (2) hours. Upon arriving at the Lagoon Restaurant, our client was informed that the deceased fell into the lagoon while on duty at about 10:00am that morning and was still in the lagoon.
Our client demanded to know why no immediate rescue efforts were made to rescue the deceased and one Mr. Rami, the Managing Director of the Lagoon Restaurant informed our client that the Restaurant had no life jackets, divers or indeed safety apparatus. Upon our client’s persistence, the Managing Director invited a lady vide a telephone conversation who identified herself as a Police Officer from Bar Beach Police Station in charge of the investigations.
On enquiry as to the extent of investigations, our client was bluntly informed by the Police Offices that investigations had been concluded and that she believed that the deceased slipped, fell into the lagoon and consequently lost his life. Our client was curious as to how the investigations could have been concluded when the body of the deceased was still in the Lagoon and none of the eye-witnesses or the management of the Lagoon Restaurant had been questioned. Our client’s concerns were ignored by the Police Officer and the deceased was abandoned in the Lagoon despite the agitations of our client till 10:00pm.
Our client further informed us that the next day (17th June, 2014), he visited the Bar beach Police Station where he met with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and enquired about the recovery of the body of the deceased and further investigation, to our client’s utter bewilderment, the DPO denied knowledge of the existence of the case and the allegedly concluded investigations. The DPO subsequently ordered an investigation and an invitation of all the eye witnesses including the Managing Director of the Lagoon Restaurant.
The DPO subsequently directed a recovery of the body of the deceased. At about 10:00pm on Tuesday, 17th June, 2014, the body of the deceased was allegedly recovered from the same spot in which he was said to have slipped. A cursory look at the body of the deceased disclosed bruises and blood stains all over the face suggestive of a physical confrontation before the alleged drowning. To further confirm the foregoing suspicions, the deceased body did not show any signs of bowel enlargement consistent with drowning. Do find attached images of the body of the deceased to buttress the foregoing.
The question begging to be answered arising from these facts are as follows:
• Why is the obvious physical state of the body of the deceased inconsistent with the management’s narration of events leading to the death?
• In the unlikely event that the management of Lagoon Restaurant’s account of events is accurate, what are the safety measures put in place by the management of the Lagoon Restaurant to prevent such occurrence, since it carries on business in a high risk environment?
• Why was the staff that called to inform our client of the incident sacked immediately?
• Why did the management of the Lagoon Restaurant break into the deceased personal locker while the key to the said locker was found on the deceased’s body?
We are consequently constrained to write this petition to your exalted office as our client has become increasingly frustrated with the nonchalant attitude with which the Bar Beach Police Station is handling the investigations and the desperate efforts of Mr. Rami, the Managing Director of the Lagoon Restaurant (a Lebanese national) to conceal and destroy evidence that will aid the authorities to resolve all the queries raised by the foregoing facts.
We therefore urge you to use your good offices to order a full investigation and Coroner’s Inquest for the purpose of resolving the foregoing questions and consequently prefer criminal charges against all those found culpable.
We anticipate your urgent intervention in this matter.
Culled from The Eagle Online