Posted by News Express | 18 October 2018 | 1,021 times
A human rights organisation, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), has forwarded a petition to relevant security agencies alleging unwholesome activities being carried out by foreign nationals operating concession agreements at the popular Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.
In the petition sent to the Comptroller-General of Immigration, signed by the Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman, dated Monday 8th of October, 2018; the group specifically accused owners of two firms, Tin Can Island Container Terminal Limited (TICT) and APM Terminals of violating several laws of the country in the conduct of their operations.
CHRSJ stated that TICT is located at Terminal ‘B’ Tin Can, Port Complex, 1/3 Point Road, Apapa; Lagos while the other firm, APM is located at Wharf Road, Apapa, Lagos.
Specifically, the group is urging President Muhammadu Buhari and other relevant authorities to commence probe into how the monthly N3b subvention is being utilised by the affected companies, saying that CHRSJ has evidence of gross mismanagement of the said funds.
The group also sent copies of the petition to the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS); Ministers in charge of the ministries of Labour, Interior as well as the Committees of the lower legislative chambers on Labour and Employment, Interior and Maritime.
Others copied by the group in the petition are the chairmen of the committees on Public Petitions, Privilege and Ethics at both chambers of the National Assembly as well as Nigeria’s embassies in France, China and India for prompt action in the country of accreditation.
According to CHRSJ, officials of the two companies who are liable for sanction are the Operations Manager of TICT, Mr. Yann Magarian, Commercial Manager of the same company, Mr. Kapur Pawan, and another official by name Mr. Etienne Rocher, as well as the Human Resources Manager, Mrs. Juliet Ikemefuna.
The group listed officials of APM who have also to accused of violating the laws of the country include, members of the Board, Managing Director, Human Resources Manager, Operation Manager and the Commercial Manager.
CHRSJ also stated that the missions of the three nations in Nigeria have also been served the same petition just as copies have been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.
In the copy of the petition made available to newsmen in Lagos on Monday, Sulaiman on behalf of the group listed some of the unwholesome practices being carried out by the owners and management of the affected companies who are of French, Chinese and Indian nationalities to include violation of expatriate quota, human rights abuse on their workers.
Also, CHRSJ accused the management of the affected firms of violating series of laws regulating labour activities in the country as well as willful harassment and intimidation of their workers whenever they try to enforce their fundamental rights.
The group equally accused the owners of the affected firms of gross violation of contents of the agreements between them and the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for the operation of the facilities at the ports on behalf of the Nigerian people.
According to CHRSJ, the agreement was signed in 2006 and it was for the management of the ports facilities to the various companies via their home governments of France, China and India.
The group said: “We are very sad to report that the agreements that have been reached with their governments for the management of our ports have not yielded any kind of benefits to the country. Rather, the operation of the contents of the agreements has become a conduit pipe to drain the lean purse of the country.
“It is also disheartening to note that the Nigerians who work in these firms have suffered untold hardship in the hands of the so called employers who utilise racist and fraudulent means to circumvent operations of several clauses in the agreements. The employers apart from floating various labour related laws have also engaged in physical abuse of the hapless workers.
“We are in possession of hard evidences suggest that many of the male workers are daily being brutalised and dehumanised through beatings and other corporal punishments while the female workers are physically abused by the so-called expatriate workers who usually threatened them not to report otherwise they risk being sacked.”
CHRSJ also accused the foreigners of utilising racial slur in a demeaning manner by calling the workers apes, baboon and black monkey whenever they (the foreigners) feel offended by the actions of Nigerians in the process of carrying out their job assignment.
The group called on the Ministry of Labour and Employment to institute a comprehensive probe into practice of labour casualisation in the various companies “since many of their workers are not permanently employed.”
“We have enough fact to state that many (if not all) Nigerian workers are casually employed in these companies tagged as ‘contract workers.’ The money collected for their training is diverted. We also know that they fill fictitious names that are forwarded for the immigration with a view to collecting over-stay status in the country.
“Many of their documents are usually fake and virtually all their workers job schedule is not in any way connected to what they are doing are usually forwarded to the immigration for collection of N3b subvention from the government,” CHRSJ said.
It alleged that Mr. Yann Magarian filled in his immigration form that he is a system analyst but is currently working as the operation manager of TICT while Kapur Pawan, who also claimed to be a system analyst, is working as the Commercial Manager of the same company.
Sulaiman who said, the abuse of the expatriate quota has become very rampant in the country added that “We later discovered that the quota given to the company is that of the Managing Director and the safety expert.”
CHRSJ stated that it has opted to give a two-month ultimatum that would lapse in December this year to relevant authorities such as the immigration service, the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and other affected agencies to act without further notice.
“Failure on the part of these institutions would lead us with no choice but to employ self-help to reverse the trend. Our action would be a locomotive one that would consume both the foreigners and their local collaborators,” CHRSJ concluded.
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