Labour Minister shuts down battery factory in Ogun over unsafe practices


The Minister of Labour and Employment (State), Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, on Friday stormed Ogun State and shut down Metal Manufacturing Company, Gbara, near Sotubo, in Sagamu Local Government for exposing workers to dangerous health hazards.

The minister said she had received accumulated petitions against the unhealthy practices of the firm.

According to her, the company, which is into battery manufacturing, has failed to provide protective gear for the workers despite several warnings from the Occupational Safety and Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The minister further complained that the recalcitrant attitude of the management of the company to abide by the law of the country and ensure that its workforce operates in line with global standards and practice forced her to travel to the state to impose sanctions.

Onyejeocha said: “After being told of what is happening here at this company, I told my staff to come around and instruct them to do what the law says because they deal with lead, which is quite harmful. I told them that the company should do some cleaning up and ensure that their workers are properly kitted so that their lives will not be endangered unnecessarily but I later got the report that the company has refused to do anything.

“So I said, let me come here from Abuja to see things for myself and what I have seen here is worse than what was described to me. It is totally awful and unacceptable.

“I have never seen the kind of irresponsibility I am seeing at this factory from any manufacturer, though, they are telling me that theirs is still better but I have told them that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration will never tolerate this illegality, especially for those who considered the country a dumping ground and where they could get cheap labour and do things to suit them, making money at the expense of Nigerians.

“I have seen things for myself; we met the workers without their boots on, packing things with their hands, no helmet on their heads. No, this is wrong because those running this company won’t dare do this in their country. So, we have gone round and seen things for ourselves and I have pronounced that the company is prohibited until the management is ready to do things as it is provided for in the laws of our land.”

She added: “President Tinubu’s government is really against these sharp practices and for those who are not ready to operate according to the rules of the land, they are free to wind up and go; they should stop subjecting our people to such dehumanising conditions under the guise of providing employment for them.”

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