Federal Government To Investigate Maltreatment Of Nigerians Working In Foreign Owned Firms
The Civil Liberty Organisation of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to investigate the alleged maltreatment of Nigerians working in firms owned by foreigners.
The Akwa Ibom State Chairman, CLO, Mr. Clifford Thomas, on Monday in Uyo said the call became imperative in view of the rising cases of human rights abuse of Nigerians working in those firms.
He alleged that one of the firms known for gross violation of the rights of its Nigerian workers was the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation.
According to a police report obtained from Ibesikpo Police Station on March 28, 2012, one Mr. Emaeyak Edem, who was admitted into St. Luke Hospital, Anua, Uyo, was allegedly assaulted by soldiers attached to CCECC on the order of one of the Chinese bosses identified simply as Mr. Mor.
The doctor’s (Dr. I. Chike) report reads, “Patient presented today, March 28, 2012, with complaints of being beaten up by army men. On examination, deep bruises, inflammation, lacerations, are all over his body.”
Thomas said Edem, a tipper driver, went to inquire from the company if he could be contracted to supply it sand and other road building materials.
He said, “One Mr. Mor, a Chinese employee of CCECC, had on March 28, 2012, ordered a soldier attached to the security unit of the company in Ibesikpo, to abduct Mr. Emaeyak Edem, a tipper driver from Ikot Oduot.
“They took him to CCECC’s yard in Mbierebe Akpawat, at gunpoint, a distance of eight kilometres. At the yard, the said Mor instigated the armed soldiers to beat Edem mercilessly, forcing him to lie on the hot floor, face-up, and kept flogging him.
“The beatings, including using gun butts, continued until the victim passed out by some minutes past 2pm.”
He also alleged that the soldiers dispossessed Edem of his N18,000.
Another Chinese, Mr. Fer Goa, a site supervisor with CCECC, was also alleged to have maltreated some Nigerian workers.
Thomas said, “A recent incident occurred when he physically molested, assaulted and beat a certain Mr. Okon Matthew, a metal artisan (employed as an iron bender), for reasons he could not explain. He forced Matthew to convey six cape stones at a go, while others were made to carry only two.
“On another occasion, he compelled Okon to dig heavily compacted ground for three days, while still visiting inhuman treatment on him.”
Thomas asserted that two unidentified Nigerian workers were stripped naked, beaten and thick oil were poured on them by soldiers attached to the company purportedly acting on the order of the management.
A source in the company confided in our correspondent that the Chinese did not have respect for the Nigerians working with them.
“I will advise you to come to our office and also monitor where these Chinese are working with our men. They treat us like animals. We need to endure as there is no job anywhere for us to do. And many of us here have families. What can we do,” he asked.
When contacted, the phone of the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Etim Dickson, rang out. Also, he did not respond to the text message sent to him.
But the company’s Public Relations Manager, Mr. Solomon Matthew, denied that the Chinese violated the rights of the Nigerian workers.
He described the Chinese as well-behaved men who would neither be rude nor inflict injuries on their workers.
“We don’t have such incidents in our organisation. Our men are well-behaved. I don’t think the assertion by those who call themselves our employees or whatever is possible,” he said.