Safety Standards and Regulations: Reps Threaten Coys .
The House of Representatives has issued a threat of invoking its constitutional powers to compel Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of foreign and local companies who failed to honour its invitation to the ongoing probe of an alleged breach of extant safety standards and regulations in the country.
The Chairman, House Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations, Honourable Ibrahim Hamza, issued the threat notice during the ongoing investigative hearing held at the National Assembly.
He specifically singled out the management of Simoma Fabcon Structural Roofing Tiles Ltd, located in Kuje, Abuja for rejecting the invitation letter delivered by officials of the Committee and Courier company.
The Committee alleged that the management of Simoma Fabcon Structural Roofing Tiles Ltd was in violation of safety rules and regulations in their operations, adding that the petitions before the Committee indicated that the working environment in which the company subjects Nigerians to is horrible and jeopardized their health and safety.
According to the lawmakers, there were two notable cases where the hands of two Simoma staff were amputated during work related accidents and they have not been compensated till date.
While frowning at the development, the lawmakers who accused the company of ‘legislative contempt’, observed that the company’s staff who attended to the Courier Company that delivered the invitation letter in Kuje, categorically told the Courier Agent that they rejected the letter because they risk losing their jobs since they were directed by top management to reject all letters from government agencies.
While noting that one of the victims has taken the Simoma Fabcon Structural Roofing Tiles Ltd to Court following the breach of extant health and safety regulations, the lawmakers vowed to protect Nigerians and foreigners working across the country.
According to the committee, the underlisted companies received their letters of invitation but failed to attend the investigative hearing, namely: Simoma Fabcon Structural Roofing Tiles Ltd; BUA Pasta Ltd; Kohath Investment Group; Manitoba Hydro Int’l Nigeria Ltd; Western Goldenfields Group Ltd; Kamen Aggregates & Construction Ltd; Cue Mines & Minerals Limited; Derekson Ltd; Blakes Energy Services Ltd; and China Unity Manufacturing Company Ltd.
Others are: A&K Construction Ltd; The Building Practice Ltd; Springfield Ashburton Ltd; Byuab Resources Ltd; Afriglobal Logistics and Supply Chain Solutions Ltd; Afriq Products Ltd; Alphoking Ltd; Baolaab Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Ltd; Banarly Nigeria Ltd; Andrew Isichei and Company; Caspian Energy Ltd; Cee Oil Ltd; Brisk Maritime Services Ltd; Creekwood Engineering & Energy Ltd; Clarion Logistics Ltd; De Akuson Energy Services Ltd as well as Authmaz360 Granites & Haulage.
During the review of safety measures put in place by Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), the Committee expressed concerns over various petitions sent by host communities where RCC operates in Ogunmakin, Ogun State; Anambra State, among others. They further requested for safety audit and environmental compliance reports for all locations of RCC, including the FCT.
Commenting on the subject matter, Hon. Archibong demanded for comprehensive reports on all Nigerians who were victims of poor safety standards at various sites of the company.
He said Mr. Elvis Bassey was severely injured as a result of a rod piercing through his anus, as well as the circumstances surrounding the severe fractures suffered by Mr. Adegba Ben James when the borrow pit collapsed on him in Anambra; Mr. Samuel Akpovo who fell from height while welding. He lamented the rising cases of workplace accidents and the general disregard to signed HSE management systems, especially by foreign companies that maintain higher safety standards in their home countries.
Similarly, Hon. Samuel Onuigbo demanded for comprehensive reports on the death of Aladeifa Abbass, Anthony Hope, and many others maimed by unsafe work condition/ practice, as well as safety concerns raised by host communities in Ogunmakin area of Ogun State imparted by their blasting operations, and the plight of one of the victims – Mrs. Comfort.
The lawmakers who queried the rationale behind the inconsistency in the remittances paid by RCC into Employee’s Compensation Fund on monthly basis managed by Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, demanded for comprehensive list of all remittances, certifications of the safety officers, compensation to victims and host communities, among others.
In its response to the queries, RCC Managing Director, Mr. Nader Yusuf who disclosed that the company has about 3,500 workers, argued that the company has reduced safety incidences by 90%.
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