Death of 19-year-old dispatch rider: logistics company denies culpability

By Esther Onyegbula

The Management, Errand360 Technology Services Limited has revealed that 19-year-old dispatch rider, Chidera Uzomma Ezekiel was still in custody because the bail terms set by the court, were not met.


In a statement made available to Vanguard by David Ayodeji the Co-founder of Errand360, on Thursday, concerning the demise of Chidera, said: due to the misrepresentations that have been shared on social media regarding in this case, it has become imperative to present details of the series of events that necessitated the involvement of the police by the company, in a case against Chidera Ezekiel.”


According to the statement, “Chidera Ezekiel was contracted as a rider for the company on January 17, 2022. He worked with us until the incident of February 19, 2022.


“As an employee of the company, and throughout his employment, he was treated with the same level of respect and fairness that we show to all our contract riders and employees. He was also subject to the same contract terms which include that he must present a surety before engagement. This surety was a certain Mr Kenneth, who he introduced as his relative.”


“On February 14, 2022, against company policy, Chidera Ezekiel took the company’s bicycle home and failed to return it the next day. He claimed the bicycle had been
stolen. Upon internal investigations and speaking to Chidera Ezekiel the company did not find the story of the bicycle being stolen credible, and so he was requested to
return the missing bicycle.


“Days later, specifically on February 19, 2022, some persons broke into the company’s Maintenance Building. The security personnel at the facility on that day
identified Chidera Ezekiel as one of the persons who broke in.

“The company naturally involved the police in the matter to investigate this series of events. While investigating, we were informed that the police visited Chidera Ezekiel’s residence, where some of the company’s bicycle parts were found. Despite this, no
arrest was made.

“Mr Ezekiel subsequently returned a replacement for the originally missing bicycle, which upon inspection, was found to be another of the company’s bicycles. Thus, it was proven that Chidera Ezekiel was likely one of the individuals who had broken into the Maintenance Building prior, and he had returned another of the company’s bicycles as a replacement for the initial missing bicycle. It was based on this that the police arrested him and took him into custody for further investigation and arraignment.


“Chidera Ezekiel was arraigned before the magistrate court, and from this point, the
matter was in the hands of the court, as is the due process. On March 1st, 2022, after the first hearing of the case, his bail terms were set by the court, as this was a bailable offence.

“The company subsequently received information that his bail conditions had not been met. In good faith, the company offered to deposit the bail bond. However, certain additional documents were required to be deposited which the company could not provide.


“At the most recent hearing of the case on March 30, 2022, the company expressly indicated to the court that it was set to drop the case if Chidera Ezekiel or his guarantor
returned an actual replacement for the originally missing bicycle. The court accepted this condition and adjourned the case to June 8, 2022.

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“On April 4 2022, a replacement for the missing bicycle was provided. The company went to the court to attempt an early withdrawal of the case, despite the next date of hearing being June 8.

“However, Chidera Ezekiel’s presence was required in court, but the authorities could not provide him before the court. It should be noted that as a criminal matter, the case was largely in the hands of the prosecution. We were left with no option but to wait till the next adjourned date for a report of settlement.


“Unfortunately, Chidera Ezekiel passed away before the report of the settlement could be presented in court.


“We value the well-being of all our riders and employees and are deeply saddened by Mr Ezekiel’s passing. The company followed due process by escalating the matter to the police, for appropriate investigation and arraignment before the court.


“We continue to sympathize with Chidera Ezekiel’s family. We are available to provide any assistance required in this difficult time.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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