6th February, 2014
The level of violence meted out by expatriate business people in Nigeria to their staff has become worrisome and needs urgent government intervention.
Recently, 40-year old Adeleke Owolabi, a newly recruited marketer of a PVC-producing Chinese firm based in Sagamu, Ogun State, western Nigeria was brutalised by his Chinese boss, Mike Jackson, and his cousin, Tony Jackson for a flimsy offence.
The graduate of Mass Communication from Olabisi Onabanjo University was supposed to travel to Kano with the goods for sale and until 4pm, his boss continued to give excuses thus delaying him. An attempt to make Mike realise that travelling at night could be risky earned the father of two a kick in his private part and a slap while Tony smashed a bottle on his head. They both beat him up until he fainted.
On 12 December, 2013, 34-year-old Mrs. Alexandra Ossai, a Supervisor with a Lebanese-owned firm, Toppan Printing Company in Lagos, lost her seven-month old pregnancy and suffered serious complication after her Lebanese boss, Kaveh Noine, kicked her violently in the stomach. She had to undergo a surgery to save her life as the placenta was damaged.
According to the woman who said she had been slapped many times before, anytime Noine was annoyed, he would beat the staff that provoked him. Sometimes, he would throw whatever he can lay his hands on at the person.
Sometime ago, Maaji Meriga, a 62-year old casual worker with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, working to construct railway tracks in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, lost his testicles after allegedly receiving slaps and a kick on his private part by the company’s transport manager, Marcho Chin, popularly called ‘old soldier.’
Many more of such inhuman treatment against Nigerians by foreigners who come into the country, many without valid documents abound in almost all companies owned by them.
These companies often pay their casual staff peanuts as salaries and wages and leave the staff prone to accidents many of which are bloody and the victims are maimed for life. This is aside cases of rape against some of the women who work with them abound.
It is even more frustrating to hear the victims complain of inability to secure justice from either the Nigerian Police or any other agency that could assist as they must have soiled their hands with bribes from these foreigners.
The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, are two bodies that have also failed in the fight to ensure proper work environments for the Nigerian workers in companies owned by foreigners in the country. Many times, they have been accused of only visiting the companies to line their pockets by these aliens, some of whom are prisoners sent to Nigeria by their countries to complete their jail terms.
We call on all relevant government authorities, including the National Assembly, to ensure that Nigerians in these firms are not treated like slaves in their own country.
There must be serious sanctions against foreigners who treating Nigerians like animals.