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Family, friends seek inquiry into death of Chinese translator by a forklift

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The deceased

It was a shattered dream for Chinua Nwogu, a mass communication graduate of Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra State, whose aspiration to live his dream and become successful as a Chinese translator was allegedly cut short by a North Korean in Lekki, Lagos two Saturdays ago.

Nwogu, described as a jolly good fellow, was allegedly murdered in questionable circumstances at a construction firm handling some projects at Dangote Refinery, where he worked as a Chinese interpreter. While his friends claim it was a deliberate act, the firm insists it was an industrial accident.

With a diploma in Chinese language, the Imo State-born Nwogu was seen as a shining light by his family until his untimely death. The family is yet to come to terms with his demise, but his friends are pushing to seek justice for the deceased. Already, they have taken to social media to call on the authorities to commence investigation into the incident.

The Guardian learnt that the young man once had a misunderstanding with a North Korean labourer. A friend of his, Chidinma Jane Okafor, described his death as cruel. She claimed that the Korean hit him with a forklift on that fateful day, which caused him to bleed from the ear and nose while also coughing out blood.

“When he was trying to reach out for assistance, his Chinese boss allegedly took his phone as well as other Nigerians working with the deceased. On seeing the gravity of the injury, Nwogu was rushed to a general hospital nearby, but he couldn’t be admitted as his case was said to be critical. He was then referred to CMS Lagos hospital. He eventually gave up the ghost on the way. Up till September 22, his phones were still held by the Chinese boss at CC7,” she alleged.

A colleague, who gave his name simply as Frank, said Chinua, as the deceased was fondly called, was dropped at the site with others on that day. “Excited and ever cheerful as always, the deceased, Godstime, his fellow Chinese translator and myself walked hand in hand to our section of CC7, CDU A2.

“Not long after resuming work, I saw the warehouse attendant running from the warehouse into the office area, and back again this time followed by not so friendly Chinese counterpart Yuemin. I suspected something fishy. So, I followed into the warehouse to meet a most horrible sight.

“Chinua was gasping in pains, held up by a Nigerian, who ran to his aid and the Korean, who drove the forklift. His impeccable clothes were in shreds. All he could mutter was: ‘This Korean has killed me with forklift.’ He managed a cough that brought thick bloody liquid. He was caught in between the steel rack and the forklift, the Nigerian helper tried to explain as fast as he could while holding Chinua upright.

“It is not certain if the machine failed brake, lost control or there was a play gone wrong, which ever one it was, this was an accident that should never have happened. I asked the Korean ‘who ask you to operate the forklift’ but he couldn’t talk as he didn’t understand English one bit. If Chinua was looking the way the forklift was approaching why did he not move, or was there a misunderstanding? Was he directing him but things got out of hand? That is the question we want the police to find answers to.”

Although the company said it is an accident, his friends, who were displeased with the treatment meted out to the deceased staged a protest last week, calling for investigation on the matter and justice for the deceased.


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