Lagos seals Chinese Company- Hongxing Steel Company

 

The Lagos State Government has stopped the operation of a Chinese firm, Hongxing Steel Company, saying a visit to the firm confirmed reports that its Nigerian workers were going through hell.

A statement on Thursday by the Head, Public Relations Unit of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Lola Jagunmolu, said the visitation followed The PUNCH’s reports on the recurring incidents of deaths and injuries in the company.

Our correspondent had exclusively reported that two workers died and many others injured while working in the company.

Workers, who spoke with our correspondent, said their Chinese bosses maltreated them and fired them at will.

They said people were injured and killed in the company on a regular basis due to absence of safety standards.

In a follow-up report, Nigerians had called for the shutdown of the firm.

Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, had also promised to petition the National Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Labour to ensure measures were taken against the company.

He added that he would sue for damages for the victims.

The Lagos State Government said after investigating the allegations, it discovered that the Chinese firm had indeed violated safety standards, which led to the tragedies.

The statement by the LSSC said it discovered during a fact-finding tour that the working conditions of the workers were deplorable.

It said the discoveries led to an order for the company to cease operations.

The statement said, “The Lagos State Safety Commission has put a stop-work order on Hongxing Steel Company Limited to stop operations for safety violations.

“The stop order was placed when the Director General, LSSC, Fouad Oki, and his team went on a fact-finding tour following the publication in The PUNCH on the death of one Emeka Umoh, a casual worker in the company.

“Speaking on the company’s premises in Amuwo Odofin, where a safety audit was conducted, Oki described the working conditions of the workers as deplorable, harsh and totally unacceptable, adding that there was very little safety measure put in place.”

It added that an official of the company, who accepted the stop-work order, promised that the firm would improve on its standards.

“Uche Eke, the Public Relations Manager of the company, said the order would serve as a wake-up call to the management of the company in the area of putting proper safety measures in place, while Jim, the company’s Safety Officer, promised to do step up in the area of safety.

“A member of staff, who preferred to remain anonymous, lamented that although the working condition was harsh, they subjected themselves to it because they had no alternative,” the statement added.

 

Credit: www.punchng.com