Emaeyak Bassey EdemCulled from Saharareporters
The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Akwa Ibom State branch herein observes that nationals of some of the foreign firms handling major construction jobs in the state, have been involved in the dehumanization of Nigerians in their employ. The CLO calls for the investigation, prosecution of the culprits, and the compensation of victims.Continue reading...
Chapter IV of the Nigerian Constitution as amended identifies rights it considers fundamental, and which must be respected at all times. For the avoidance of doubt, sections 33 to 43 of the Constitution describe those rights while Chapter II of the same constitution describes the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, including economic, social and cultural rights of the people. Government owes its citizens the duty of protecting them.
Section 12(1) states that: “the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be based on the principles of democracy and social justice.” In sub-section 2, it states thus: “it is hereby, accordingly, declared that:- … (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” This lays the basis for the basic purpose of government in Nigeria.
It is sad to note here that amongst several firms owned by foreigners doing businesses in Akwa Ibom, nay, Nigeria, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) appears to have condoned and encouraged the wanton abuse and gross violation of the very essence of living decently – the fundamental rights of those working with them.
1. Mr. Mor vs Emaeyak Bassey Edem
A certain Mr. Mor, a Chinese staff of CCECC had on 28th of March, 2012, ordered a soldier attached to the security unit of the company in Ibesikpo, to abduct Mr. Emaeyak Bassey Edem, a tipper driver from Ikot Oduot. They took him to CCECC’s yard in Mbierebe Akpawat, at gunpoint, a distance of eight (8) kilometers. At the yard, the said Mr. Mor, instigated the armed soldiers to beat Mr. Edem mercilessly, forcing him to lie on the hot floor, face-up, and kept flogging him to look at the sun in that position, between 9 O’clock in the morning till 2 O’clock in the afternoon. The beatings, including using gun butts, continued until the victim passed out by some minutes past 2p.m.
During the process of his ordeal, the soldiers reportedly dispossessed him of the Eighteen Thousand Naira (N18,000), in his possession. The dehumanization of this Nigerian on the instigation of this foreigner without the benefit of due process (the police and the justice delivery system of the country) is totally unacceptable, and highly condemnable.
According to the police extract, it was reported that “deep bruises, inflammation and lacerations (were seen) all over the body …” The report was issued by the Ibesikpo Asutan Divisional Police Headquarters. The victim is still very sick, suffering the deprivation of his economic, social and civic rights.
2. MR FER GOA
Mr. Fer Goa is a site supervisor with CCECC in its operations in Akwa Ibom State. Investigations show that aside from complaints of extortion of money from suppliers of the company’s supplies, this Chinese national is notorious for physically assaulting Nigerians working for CCECC. He personally beats workers with a blue-coloured chain, forces them to frog-jump, kicks some of them on their buttocks (and their scrotum sometimes), and generally dehumanizes them against identified provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria.
A recent incident occurred when he physically molested, assaulted and beat a certain Mr. Okon Matthew, a metal artisan (employed as an iron bender), for reasons he could not explain. He forced Mr. Okon to convey six (6) cape stones at a go, while others were made to carry only two (2) . On another occasion, he compelled Mr. Okon (his victim) who was employed in the metal works division, to dig heavily compacted ground for three days, while still visiting inhuman treatment on him. Though the company initially denied the incident when it became public knowledge, Mr. Okon’s Time Card which shows evidence of his consistent presence at work while undergoing the inhuman treatment from Mr. Goa, was stolen by Mr. Goa’s agents in CCECC while at the office of the State Security Service (SSS) office in Uyo. This was an attempt to deny him of his daily wages.
3. BRUTALIZATION AND DEHUMANIZATION OF INDIGENOUS WORKERS.
Two unidentified Nigerian workers were stripped naked, beaten, poured thick condemned oil on the authority of Chinese staff of CCECC by more than six (6) soldiers attached to the security unit of the company. They were dehumanized in the most brutal form, in February 2011. Having stripped the men naked, beaten them, they were both immersed in very thick condemned oil. Their offences could not be explained, though as an after-thought, one of the soldiers claimed that the workers stole from the company. The soldier reported claimed very shamelessly, that it was with the consent of the victims that they were being ill-treated; to avoid being sacked.
Did the state fail to protect its citizens in violation of Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended? Is it proper to use soldiers in the security convoy of private citizens and residents of Nigeria, like is done in Akwa Ibom State for construction firms; who in turn use these soldiers to unleash terror upon Nigerians? Does it not amount to “over awing” the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for Chinese road technicians (and others) to have soldiers as their ADCs, when even the Vice President of Nigeria has a police officer as his orderly?
CLO, enjoins all human rights organizations, civil society and persons and entities, to condemn the gross inhumanity meted out to these Nigerians. We call for justice for these victims. The culprits, whether Chinese, Nigerian, civilian, military or otherwise, must be made to pay for their crimes against humanity.
CLO, Akwa Ibom Branch