By Adaku Walter
A human rights organization, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has accused three concessionaire firms managing two of the nation’s premier seaports, Tin Can Island and Wharf, both in Apapa of perpetrating unwholesome practices considered to be anti-labour against their Nigerian workers.
This is just as an Industrial Court sitting in Lagos State fixed February 16, 2022 for continuation of hearing of a case brought before it by the ex-manager of Tin-Can Island Container Terminal Limited, Mr. Amos Ajani Fasanya.
The group in a statement issued on Sunday, signed by the Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman in Lagos, also accused some Indian businessmen of rights violations against their workers in a manner that has continued to dehumanise them.
CHRSJ in the statement made available to newsmen regretted what it termed the near absence of necessary regulatory framework in the country needed to safeguard and protect workers against unwholesome practices of their employers, particularly foreign businessmen living in the country.
“CHRSJ is very sad to note that the condition of our people in the hands of these foreign businessmen living in the country is so bad and appalling. It is rather appalling that the government has not seriously beamed its searchlight on the activities of these foreigners who constantly subject our people to ridicule and shame.” The group wrote.
CHRSJ listed the affected companies to include, Purechem Manufacturing, (Nigeria) Limited, located at VeePee Avenue, Con-Oil/Singer Bus Stop, Sango Otta, Ogun State; Chinese Contractors of China Civil Engineering Company (CCECC), located at 46, Nnamdi Azikiwe Drive Ebute Metta, Lagos Mainland, Lagos; Central South Construction Company, located at Water Corporation Yard, Agbado Crossing area/VIO Office Yard, Sango-Otta Area, Ogun State.
The group also listed, Wadoye (Nigeria) Limited, located at Haruna House, KM9, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 110115, Magboro, Lagos; Nigerian Carton and Packaging Company (NICAPACO); Wahum (Nigeria) Limited; Frieslandcampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and some other companies infringing on the rights of their Nigerian workforce.
Also listed are Cadbury (Nigeria) Plc; Vital Construction Company Limited; Topwide Ventures Limited; Tin Can Island Container Terminal Limited; APM Terminal Plc; BEAMCO (Nigeria) Limited, 3, Solomon Agbotan, Aerodrome, Apapa, Lagos; Catertainment (Nigeria) Limited, located at 1303, Akin Adesola Street, Lagos*.
Specifically, CHRSJ accused the management team of Tin-Can Island Container Terminal Limited dominated by French and Chinese nationals of employing racism against their Nigerian employees by describing them in derogatory terms during work hours.
“We have since discovered that these foreigners operating in the country usually call their Nigerian workers apes, Pig’s and monkeys. We also know for a fact that most workers in their company are not permanently engaged as they are casual workers with little or no benefits accruing to them for the services being rendered by them,” Sulaiman said.
The group accused the management of Purechem Manufacturing, (Nigeria) Limited of providing little or no safety measures for their workforce leaving many of them decapitated just as CHRSJ added that those permanently injured or disabled are usually left to their fate by the management of the company.
“We have seen many of these injured workers who have been left in the cold by the management of Purechem. Their situation is so pathetic that many households have been left with their breadwinners unable to provide food for their families. CHRSJ has reported many of these cases to relevant security agents such as the Police, DSS and others.
“We also know for a fact that these security agents have concluded investigations into many of these infractions but have refused to act on the outcome of the various investigations. We are using this opportunity to remind them (security agents) to do the needful by acting on the outcome of the various investigations, as the group further Promised to soon drag all affected French, Chinese & Indian firms, DSS, Police to court over conspiracy, sabotaging and dehumanizing. conditions of Nigerian workers,’ he added.
According to the group, a subsisting case of racial abuse instituted by a former employee, Mr. Amos Ajani Fasanya, who was the manager against Tin-Can Island Container Terminal Limited, has been scheduled for February 16, 2022 before Justice S.H. Danjidda of the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court.
“We are monitoring the case which is labeled in suit-No:NICN/LA/444/2021 between Fasanya and a management staff of Tin Can Island Container Terminal Limited, Kapur Pawan with keen interest with a view to secure justice for Fasanya who is clearly a victim of racial slur meted against him by Pawan sometimes last year while at work.
“We are particularly interested in this case because of the unlawful termination of his appointment when Fasanya opted to sue the company for the racial abuse.” The group stated in the statement.
Sulaiman concluded that CHRSJ and some other Human Rights Organisations both locally and internationally, have already set all the necessary legal machinery in motion to mobilise Nigerians, particularly the media to attend its world press conference and court appearance scheduled for February 16, 2022 before Justice S.H. Danjidda of the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court.