House Probes Chinese Company over Maltreatment of Nigerians

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The House of Representatives has ordered an investigation to unravel the reasons why a Chinese company in Edo State subjected its Nigerian workers to slavish conditions and false imprisonment for three months since the lockdown in flagrant abuse of the federal government COVID-19 regulations.

Therefore, the House has directed the Inspector General of Police ( IG) to immediately send a crack team to storm the company with a view to ascertaining the Save Our Souls (SOS) message and to set free the said detained workers pending further investigations.

The Green Chamber also said the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) should be put on notice about the incidence to ensure post-release management of the detained workers.

The House said considering the fact that COVID-19 regulations stipulate that all businesses and offices should be fully closed, except for those engaged in essential services, adding that given the fact that the steel companies are not among the exempted essential services providers, the company’s actions, therefore, amount to serious disrespect for Nigerian laws as well as breach of their sworn social responsibility to Nigeria as a country.

It therefore mandated “the relevant committees of the House to follow through on the report to ensure that an investigation is carried out and appropriate sanctions meted to the Chinese company if found culpable.”

The resolution of House was sequel to the motion moved by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, at the plenary yesterday.

Moving the motion, Elumelu lamented that Yongxing Chinese Steel Company located at Ugua community of Edo State was alleged to have locked down its Nigerian workers within the company’s facility, thereby depriving them access to their families since March 24, 2020, till date.

He said the workers numbering over 1,000 are holed up there in 10 persons to a room bunker, making them live in a hazardous environment which has hindered the health of most of the workers.

The lawmaker noted that these staffers were being made to work in slavish conditions 24 hours a day in and out for the last three months.

Elumelu expressed concern that the said workers were blackmailed not to divulge their new working conditions to anybody, failing which they would lose their jobs.