The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has taken over mediation in the case of an alleged assault on a worker of Bedmate Furniture Company, Magboro, William Ekanem, by his Chinese boss, Master Wan.
Punch Metro also learnt on Thursday that the ministry called for a meeting with all the parties involved in the case, including officials of the Ogun State Government.
Punch correspondent had reported that 27-year-old Ekanem had bought some foodstuffs on the premises of the company sometime in April 2017 when he was confronted by Master Wan, who asked to see the contents of the bag.
After allegedly forcefully checking the bag, the victim was given some kung fu kicks in the back by Master Wan, who also stamped his foot on his chest.
Ekanem was taken to Beachland Specialist Hospital, Arepo, where he was given some drugs before he was admitted to Divine Touch Hospital, Ibafo, where he was treated for two weeks.
He was later discharged as the firm allegedly did not pay his medical and feeding bills.
Punch correspondent reported that the Ibafo Divisional Crime Officer allegedly collected N50,000 bribe and another envelope from the company, which made him to deny the father of three justice.
The case was transferred to the Area Command, Sagamu, on the request of Ekanem’s lawyer, Felix Emeruwa, who demanded N50m compensation from Bedmate.
The company was said to have also petitioned the police and taken the matter to the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, Lagos State.
Bedmate had said Ekanem had a history of stealing property of the company, including two celotapes.
The company’s lawyer, Ayo Durojaiye, explained that the victim injured himself on the day of the incident while struggling with Master Wan, who wanted to check a bag he brought into the premises.
He said the company treated the Uyo, Akwa Ibom State indigene well, adding that a medical result from Beachland Hospital, Arepo, showed that Ekanem sustained minor injuries which he was exaggerating.
Punch correspondent learnt that following a series of report by Punch Metro, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment sent representatives from Abuja to Magboro, Ogun State.
A worker with Bedmate Furniture, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the officials visited the company on Wednesday, inviting the firm for a meeting on the Lagos Island on Thursday (yesterday).
He said, “The representatives brought two letters and gave instruction that Ekanem should also be invited for the meeting on Thursday. But the company went into the meeting without the worker.
“The officials insisted that Ekanem must be part of the meeting. One of the company’s workers was called to take the letter to Ekanem’s house. So, it is expected that Ekanem will be part of the next meeting, which is now slated for next week Thursday.”
However, Punch Metro learnt that Bedmate Furniture Company had fixed a meeting for Friday (today) with the victim.
“Initially, the meeting with Bedmate management was to take place on Monday, but Ekanem’s family was called that the meeting will now be on Friday (today). I think the company is ready for settlement; they don’t want to be drawn into more controversies,” a source said.
Punch correspondent could not reach Ekanem to confirm receipt of the letter inviting him for the meeting with the ministry of labour.
However, a human rights activist and member of the Peace Messengers, Rachael Sparkle, confirmed the development.
“I have also seen the letter. It was signed by the South-West director of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. It said that the meeting was rescheduled because Ekanem and Master Wan, who were the major actors, were absent. They stressed that the two men must be present.
“The meeting was because of your (The Punch) first publication.,” she said.