High Rate of Amputees as Working Conditions Becomes Too Dangerous in Edo State.
Listening to “Waka About” on Edo State broadcasting service on channel 95.7 Fm yesterday the 10th of April, 2019, in Benin City, a guest named ‘Nosa’ narrated his ordeal in one of the privately owned companies in the state. Nosa, who was an employee of the company for seven months, was involved in an accident while discharging his duties. The accident was fatal leading to the loss of one of his legs. According to him, the company took him to the hospital and took care of him for about five months that he spent in the hospital. To cut the long story short, today, he is no longer gainfully employed and the company has left him to his fate. The only settlement they claim to have given him was the 1.3m Naira given him for burial rites when he lost his father about two months after he was discharged from the hospital. Those anchoring the programme made mention of the fact that the rate at which cases like this gets to their studio is alarming.
In 2015, a worker fell into a crushing machine in one of these private companies in Edo State, while assisting his colleague and had his foot crushed before being rescued out of the crusher. The company neglected him claiming that was not his duty post. The young man who could not afford a good treatment later lost his life some months after as a result infection in the injured foot. In that same year, a truck driver to one of these privately owned companies was abducted while on duty. The company went to retrieve the truck from the site of the abduction and refuses to pay the ransom after the abductors contacted the family. It was the man’s family that struggled to pay after he had stayed many days in abductors’ den. It might interest you to know that even after the police intercepted the abductors after they got the ransom, the company did not still own up to their neglected responsibility. In less than a year, the man also died.
Just last year, on the 19th of June precisely, a young school leaver who had just turned twenty was involved in an accident while carrying out his duties in a factory here in Edo state. He lost the whole left arm in the process and till date, he is yet to be settled by the company.
It is a known fact that we need jobs in the state and as such, entrepreneurs should be encouraged to create jobs. But no one eats a poisonous fruit in the forest no matter how hungry he or she might be. We cannot continue to endanger our teeming workforce, making them amputees and dependants at a time when they are supposed to be taking care of themselves and their loved ones. The state government should as a matter of urgency set up a task force to look into the activities of these privately owned companies. Strict labour laws that guide the dignity and safety of her citizenry should be enacted and enforced to put an end to this menace.
During the time of Governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, one of the reasons he gave for banning the use of motorcycles in the state was due to the increased reports of motorcycle prone accidents in the hospitals across the state. We are therefore calling on Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki to request for the report of Orthopedic patients in the hospital across the state. I am sure he will be amazed to find out that the bulk of those patients are victims of workplace hazards. We can not continue like this. While we try to solve the problems of unemployment, we cannot afford to raise up another monster in the process. We have had reports of companies been closed by the state government for defaulting in tax payment, but none has been closed for poor working conditions. This goes to show that the state government has given priority to finance than the wellbeing of the good people of Edo state. This is not right, as no matter the amount paid on tax, it can not cater for the citizens of the state if the growing number of amputees is not put in check.
The time to act is now!
Social Watcher, Edo State.
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.