Chiemelie Ezeobi and Peter Uzoho
Tragedy struck at the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL) base on Monday as an operative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr. Innocent Oshemi, guarding the LADOL Free Zone shot and killed his colleague and severely injured a Korean staff working at the fabrication and integration yard of Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) located in the free zone.
The LADOL’s armed security guard went on a rampage around the SHI-MCI yard, killing his colleague during an argument and shooting a Korean SHI-MCI employee operating a crane within the yard at the time
According to eyewitness report, the severally wounded Korean was however not involved in the original argument between the gunman and his colleague.
After killing his colleague at about 1.53 pm local time, the NSCDC officer then made his way towards the exit of the SHI-MCI yard but was confronted by guards and other Korean SHI-MCI employees and prevented from leaving the yard.
Their bravery prevented the gunman from inflicting further harm on other employees within the free-zone.
The gunman was detained and taken into custody by Apapa police.
The gunman, who was supplied to LADOL Free Zone by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, was tasked with the responsibility of defending the Samsung yard from any external attack.
The Korean employee who was taken to hospital , underwent several hours of surgery, having suffered serious and life-changing injuries as a result of this incident.
Some workers at the free zone who witnessed the incident, blamed it on poor management of LADOL as the Free Zone operator.
“LADOL armed guards are supposed to be properly trained to protect Nigerian and foreign workers. SHI-MCI had previously argued against having armed guards at the yard, as it posed unnecessary risk to employees due to insufficient training of guards,” said a female employee who spoke off the record.
“It is vital that those responsible for such a serious failing that has resulted in death and serious injury are held to account. This was a violent act in a Free Zone which is supposed to be a safe zone for foreign nationals, investors and Nigerian workers conducting their daily business. Zone operators like LADOL should have measures in place to ensure the safety and security of all their subleases at the zone and if those measures fail there should be contingencies,” another eyewitness told journalists.
In a statement issued yesterday, Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria confirmed that one of its Korean employees was critically injured after being shot by an armed guard from LADOL Free Zone, adding that it has arranged expert medical care for this employee.
“We give thanks to the quick-thinking and bravery of its employees who apprehended the rogue LADOL employee. Samsung will conduct a full investigation and demands answers from LADOL as to how this employee was screened, and what protection they can offer to workers within the LADOL Free Zone who are now extremely concerned for their safety and welfare,” the company said.
“Samsung is working with the International SOS service and the Korean embassy in Nigeria to ensure that proper medical care is provided to its employee and that his family have all the support they need. We have already started our own investigation into what happened. We will be encouraging the Nigerian authorities and the Korean embassy to commence a full and thorough investigation into this terrible incident,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, SHI-MCI has excused all its employees for work from yesterday and until further notice. “SHI-MCI plans to issue a claim of damages and will request compensation on behalf of the victim as well as commercial loss,” the company added.
When contacted by THISDAY, the Public Relations Officer of NSCDC in Lagos State, Chinyere Ekentewo, promised to react but could not do that as at press time.