By Oyindamola Bankole
A 23 year old orphan Anthony Effiong who hails from Odukpani in Etse Local Govt. Area of Akwa-Ibom State, and who recently lost his right hand to a moulding machine belonging to KGM chemical industry has vowed to sue the company for fifty million naira as compensation for his loss.
The youth who was engaged at the factory located on plot 6 Cowbell way Abimbola Street Isolo a suburb of Lagos as casual worker, was initially posted to the assembly section where he served for some time. He was later redeployed to the injection molding department as a machine/reliever in the injection molding department without prior training as required by the International Labour rules of engagement.
Narrating his ordeal to our correspondent, the now psychological depressed Effiong said the lure that the city of Lagos was lined with gold, made him leave his home stead and that he was full of joy when the company engaged him amongst the thousands of applicants that had applied as factory workers.
He said things had gone well and he was happy to have been taken off the ever rising unemployment market in Nigeria even though his eight hundred and fifty naira a week take home pay, was barely enough to pay his transport fare to and fro his home and office.
He said though initially he was happy at what looked like an elevation for him when he was moved from the assemblage department to molding machine department, he soon started entertaining fear when on regular basis, accident on the machines in the company, were recorded in droves as young men loses their fingers or hands to the blood sucking and human eating machines.
His words “At that stage, I wanted to approach one of the management staff to plead with him to redeploy me back to the assemblage department, but I was advised by my colleagues that such request is seen as a taboo by the Indian overlords and the consequence is sack” he had no option than to stay
Narrating further, Effiong said this fear he had all the while entertained that he could fall a victim soon became what will be his nightmare all his life
He had resumed work as usual on the 26th of October 2016 but he never had any premonition that danger was lurking around the corner. The unexpected however happened when during the one hour mandatory lunch break, his co-operator one Mr. I K excused himself to have lunch and because the company forbids operators to stop work on their machines even for a minute, they (operators take their lunch in turns) and so he has to continue till his partner returns.
He alleged that one the management staff an Indian national whose name he gave as Mr. Kisho had without informing him increased the speed of the machine and before he could cope with the increased velocity, his right hand was caught up in the machine and by the time the machine was put off by the few workers present, it has lacerated his hand at the wrist region.
He said he blanked out, few minutes later; he was rushed to Ago Medical Hospital located in a suburb of Lagos where he regained consciousness few days later. The doctors he said, battled effortlessly to bring life back to the badly lacerated wrist, but after realizing that their efforts was not yielding the expected result, soon advised that the hand be amputated.
Several months down the line the management that promised to get the now traumatized young man an artificial hand, they are yet to fulfil their promise and today he moves about with a shirt to cover what has now become his woe. He vowed that he was going to demand fifty million naira from the company as compensation his for his permanent disability.
Asked if the said Mr.Kisho was ever queried or reprimanded for been the major cause of the accident? Overwhelmed with emotion, he shook his head as stream of tears cascaded his face, he said “they merely transferred him to our branch office at Agbara” another suburb of Lagos
It will be recalled that many Nigerians who have suffered various degrees of injuries most of them leading to permanent disability have been left in the cold to lick their wounds and some times such unfortunate ones are lead to their early grave while the owners of such companies majority of who are foreign entrepreneurs are not moved an inch by these avoidable carnage.
A worried President of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) Mr. Sunday Odita is of the opinion that these foreign entrepreneurs lackadaisical attitudes to the plight of their workers in situation as this, is fanned by the lack of political will of the ruling class to bring them to the path of sanity. “Why didn’t take Effiong to a government owned hospital where there are experts that would have saved the young man the use of his hands. They should be made to pay dearly for their outright negligence” a truly angry Odita stated
Will the case of Anthony Effiong go the way of those before him? Time and only time will tell.