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How foreign firms break labour laws, maltreat Nigerian workers

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Enahoro

The rate at which some foreign entrepreneurs and investors, especially in the manufacturing subsector, violate the rights of their workers and the Nigerian labour laws, is alarming.

It is fast becoming a common occurrence to see labourers/workers deformed by industrial machines, while getting the stipulated entitlements that could cushion the adverse effects of the accidents on victims is difficult and frustrating.

One example is Vincent Enahoro, a worker at MINL Limited, located at Plot 5/8, Industrial Estate, Off Idiroko Road in Ota, Ogun State, who had worked with the Indian-owned company for six years, but lost a finger in the course of performing his duty without adequate medical care and compensation.

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“When I was working for MINL Limited, I lost a finger. I was taken to hospital, where I spent two months. After my discharge, I was asked to resume work. At that time, my wound was still fresh.

“My family asked me to resign because of the company’s disposition towards me. I resigned last December, because I was afraid of losing any other finger or hand. Since then, no entitlement has been paid to me,” he lamented.

However, a labour contractor to the company, Jimoh Musa, countered that the company was willing to pay Enahoro his entitlement, but he was not available, stressing that he would never allow foreign company owners shortchange Nigerians.

Another Nigerian worker, who faced a similar ordeal, is Agene Friday Ayefu, a dispatch rider with logistics firm, Red Star Express in Lagos.

Ayefu explained his experience: “While I was doing my normal duty, moving from Victoria Island to Yaba to deliver goods/items for customers, I had an accident on the Third Mainland Bridge, which made my hand to be like this.

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“After taking me to different hospitals, I suggested to the company that I wanted to consult traditional medicine practitioners, since there was no improvement. They did not allow me, but kept me waiting for seven months without treatment.

“When I got tired, I called the management, but no tangible response was given. Later, the company moved me to a private hospital. I underwent another surgery there and the doctor put two irons in my hand and declared that the irons will be there for two years.”

He noted that the doctor said the hand cannot be used for anything anymore and advised him to start learning to use his left hand, alleging that the company conspired with the doctor to force him to continue working.

He called on the Nigerian government to assist Nigerians working under foreign employers who have turned workers to slaves.

In the same vein, President of Initiative for Downtrodden, Human Rights Group, Peacemaker Onoja, accused many foreign companies in Nigeria of going against labour laws and treating their Nigerian workers with disdain.

Onoja disclosed that his organisation would challenge the treatment meted out to Enahoro and Ayefu once the courts reopen and fight for the enforcement of their rights.

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