Workers Sue Company Over Industrial Accidents


Five factory workers involved in severe industrial accidents have dragged a leading plastic manufacturing companies in Nigeria, Celplas Industries Nig. Ltd., before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, demanding N50 million as compensation for injuries sustained while working for the company.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, the workers,  Ejike Okonkwo, Unyime Udom-Akpan, Uchenna Ozoemena, Nnamdi Roland and Nwachukwu Kingsley alleged that the use of obsolete machinery in the company resulted in the various accidents which led to the amputation of their limbs.  Ejide Okonkwo alleged that sometime in August last year, an explosion occurred in the company due to the negligence of a principal official who unilaterally increased the temperature of a machine in a bid to increase production.

The accident, according to Okonkwo, led to the loss of his left wrist.

The second plaintiff, Unyime Udom-Akpan, alleged that his hand got trapped inside a faulty machine and before help could come, the machine had mutilated his hand.

The three other plaintiffs also claimed that similar incidents led to the amputation of their limbs.

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According to them, efforts to make the company take responsibility for the accidents and pay for treatment proved abortive.

In their joint motion on notice, they are asking the court to make a declaration that the use of obsolete machinery in the respondent’s company which caused the accidents leading to the amputation of their various limbs, ”is inhumane and contrary to Section 34 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

They are also seeking a declaration that they are entitled to damages and compensations for the injuries sustained. They are, therefore, demanding N50 million compensation.

The case was brought before Justice S.A. Adaj yesterday but could not go on as counsel to the company pleaded with the court for a short adjournment since they have just been served the court papers.

The matter has being adjourned till 5 August, 2010.

—Henry Ojelu/Michael Abimboye

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