The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) has disclosed that the employer of Ikechukwu ‘Ikem’ Emmanuel, a Nigerian student beaten to death in the Philippines, has been charged with murder, along with five others.
A statement issued on Tuesday by NiDCOM spokesperson, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said the Chairman/CEO of the commission, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made the disclsoure during an investigative hearing of the Senate Joint Committees on Diaspora and Inter-Governmental Affairs and Foreign Affairs in Abuja, on Monday.
She said the Phillippines authorities have declared Ikem’s employer, who has since been on the run, wanted.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the Nigerian Embassy had informed the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines and also reported the case to the Inspector General of the Philippines National Police.
The Embassy, she added, had maintained regular contact with the line police station at the location, with a strong directive to go for the investigation.
“The investigating police team on the case are done with evidence building and presented the case to the Mandaue City Prosecuting Department for action, which has evaluated it and deemed it fit for murder case filing.
“They have filed the case and issued a warrant of arrest to the boy’s employee and five other suspects; they are charged for murder, human trafficking and operation of illegal business in the Philippines,” she said.
The NiDCOM boss, who gave the committee a copy of the pictures of the suspects, said the pictures have been forwarded to all exits in the Philippines to prevent them from leaving the country.
She stressed that the case will be held as soon as the major suspect is arrested.
In his submission, the Director Consular in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Enya Francis, said the cost of keeping the corpse at the funeral home is N30,000 on a daily basis, hence the need to expedite action on the investigation and take appropriate action.
Speaking on behalf of the family of the deceased, Blessing Essien, Ikem’s elder sister, said he was the only son of the family and in line with Igbo tradition, it would be an honour to bring the body back to Nigeria for burial.
She, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government through the Senate Committees to assist the family in repatriating the body back to Nigeria for a befitting burial.
Ikem, a Nigerian student in the Philippines, was on October 22, 2023, tortured by a group of Chinese co-workers over a minor disagreement with his supervisor.
According to an eyewitness: “They tied his hands, covered his mouth and beat him until he gave up the ghost.”