Worker loses hand to industrial accident

Anthony Effiong

• Victim demands N50m compensation

An orphan, Anthony Effiong, who lost his hand during an industrial accident at a plastic manufacturing company, KGEM Manufacturing, is demanding compensation from his employers.

The 23-year-old got his right hand severed from the wrist by a molder after his boss, an Indian, caused the plastic-making machine to operate faster than usual.

The victim, who hails from Akwa Ibom State, alleged that though the firm’s management promised to buy him an artificial hand and give him full compensation for his permanent impairment at the time of the incident, they have since reneged on their promises.

The youth, who was engaged at the factory located on Plot 6, Cowbell Way, Abimbola Street in Isolo Industrial Estate of Lagos as a casual worker, was initially posted to the assembly section where he served for some time.

He was later redeployed to the injection-molding department as a machine/reliever without prior training as required by the international labour rules of engagement.

Narrating his ordeal, the psychologically depressed Effiong said his hands would have still been intact had the management taken him to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

He told The Guardian that his N850 daily pay was barely enough to pay his transport fare. However, he had no choice but to manage the machine operator job since there is no job in the labour market.

According to him, “At that stage, I wanted to approach one of the management staff to plead with him to redeploy me back to the assemblage department, but I was advised by my colleagues that such request was seen as a taboo by the Indian overlords and the consequence was sack.”

He had resumed work as usual on October 26, 2016 but he never had any premonition that danger was lurking around the corner. The unexpected, however, happened when one of his colleagues was observing the one-hour mandatory lunch break.

He alleged that one of the management staff, an Indian national, whose name he gave as Mr. Kisho, had without informing him, increased the speed and pressure of the machine and before he could cope with the increased velocity, his right hand was caught up in the machine and by the time the machine was put off , it had lacerated his hand at the wrist region.

He said he was rushed to Ago Medical Centre located in Okota, where he regained consciousness a few days later. The doctors, he said, battled to bring life back to the badly lacerated wrist, but after realizing that their efforts were not yielding the expected result, soon advised that the hand be amputated.

Several months down the line, the management, which promised to get the now traumatized young man an artificial hand and compensate him is yet to fulfill its promise and today, he moves about with a shirt to cover what has now become his lifetime misery. He is demanding N50 million compensation from the company for his permanent disability.

His brother, Okon said: “Why didn’t they take Effiong to a government-owned hospital? They should be made to pay dearly for their outright negligence.”

Attempts to get the company’s reaction proved abortive as an official of the firm, who pleaded anonymity for being unauthorized to speak for the management, said the status of the victim as a casual worker may be connected to the delay in fulfilling their obligation to the ‘poor boy’.

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1 Comment
  • Xanthos1

    where are the so called human rights lawyers to take up this issue or they only know how to defend the high profile people ?