The management of Indorama Fertilizer Company Limited has described as false the allegation by one David Depriye that the company failed to provide him with medical support after he had sustained injuries on both legs while on duty.
This is contained in a statement signed by Dr Jossey Nkwocha, Head Corporate Communications, Indorama Fertilizer Company Limited, and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt.
According to the statement, Mr David Depriye, an employee of SPEO Nigeria Limited, a service contractor to the company, was never abandoned adding that all his medical bills were paid by Indorama Fertilizer Company Limited
It added that Indorama took over the medical bills of Diepriye on compassionate despite the fact that he was not a staff of the company.
“In fact, on 23rd December, 2020, Mr. Depreye, a Masher employed by SPEO Nigeria Limited and deployed to Indorama bulk loading bay, sustained injury on his two legs while at work in IFL complex.
“Indorama responded immediately by providing first aid medical treatment at the company’s clinic within the complex”.
He said that after providing first aid facilities to him, David was later transferred to Rehoboth Medical Service Hospital at the expense of Indorama Fertilizer Company.
“He was thereafter transferred at the expense of Indorama to SPEO retainer hospital – Rehoboth Medical Service Hospital – where orthopedic medication was administered.
“In view of the fact that SPEO was at the time of the accident not registered with National Social Insurance Trust Fund(NSITF), he could not avail himself of the benefits accruable to an employee who suffered workplace accident as provided under the Employee Compensation Act”.
The statement further noted that lndorama took over the medical bills of Mr. Depreye and ensured that he was kept on the payroll until this moment.
“In other words, his salary has been paid up to date. After being hospitalized for over a year at which time he went through corrective surgery on the legs at the expense of his employer SPEO and Indorama, he was eventually discharged but continued treatment on outpatient basis.
‘”This was the situation when in March 2023 Mr. Depreye filed a lawsuit at the National Industrial Court Port Harcourt requesting the Court for firstly an order compelling his employer, SPEO, and Indorama to provide proper medical attention to his fractured leg and secondly to pay a total sum of Eight Million Naira (N8m) as compensation plus Five Hundred Thousand Naira (#500,000) as Legal Fees.
“Upon being served with the court process, we invited Mr. Depreye and his lawyer to a meeting to resolve the matter amicably. In attendance was the Managing Director of SPEO and his lawyer.
“At that meeting on 19th April, 2023, it was observed that there was a need to have further treatment to correct the surgery earlier conducted by Rehoboth Medical Service Hospital. The Claimant and SPEO identified University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) as the hospital where the corrective surgery will be carried out.
“It was also agreed that the Claimant, his lawyer together with SPEO’s MD and his lawyer should go to the UPTH for medical appraisal and obtain the cost implication of the final surgery.
“They reported back at a second meeting in the complex that the total cost of corrective surgery would be about One Million Nine Hundred Thousand Naira (#1.9m). At this stage, Mr. Depreye said he does not want surgery anymore but traditional treatment in his village and that the money for treatment and compensation should be handed over to him.
“He now demanded for Twelve Million Naira full and final settlement of all claims against theHe now demanded for Twelve Million Naira (#12m) in full and final settlement of all claims against the #8m he was requesting the court to grant him.
“Although Indorama is not the direct employee of Mr. Depreye and therefore not ordinarily liable for his treatment, Indorama nonetheless offered to pay him Five Million Naira (#5m) in full and final settlement of all claims but he refused threatening us that ‘we shall meet in court.
“When the suit came up on 24th October, 2023, his lawyer informed the court that parties were exploring out of court settlement and applied for adjournment to enable the parties conclude. The lawsuit was adjourned to 4th December, 2023. On that day, the Judge informed the court of his transfer from Port Harcourt and that the case would be assigned to a new Judge.
“It was against this background that Mr. Depreye rushed to the press to make spurious allegations against the company with a view to tarnishing the hard earned reputation of Indorama.
“It is necessary to highlight the fact that Mr. Depreye is neither on medical leave nor currently hospitalized. The medical reports have not shown that he is unfit for work. Yet, since his discharge from hospital over a year ago, he has refused to turn up at the Indorama Complex for work while Indorama has for three years since the accident, continued to pay his salary and allowances till date.
“Notwithstanding this umbrage, Indorama, on compassionate ground has invited Mr. Depreye and his lawyer to a meeting scheduled for Monday 5th February 2024 in the continuing search for an amicable resolution”, statement added.
Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede
The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.
Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.
Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns
In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.
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