A Chinese Company, Inner Galaxy Steel Company, located at Umuahala, Ukwa West Local Government of Abia State has denied allegations of enslavement of her Nigerian workers.
humiliated and treated like prisoners.
This necessitated the Abia state government to promptly set up a committee to verify the allegations.
After the initial report of the committee which had not been made public, the state government set up another committee which is presently sitting, for public hearing on the allegations.
However, the company has maintained her innocence, insisting that it places priority on the welfare of its workers and does not operate a slave camp where workers’ rights are infringed upon.
Briefing journalists, Group Managing Director of the company, Andy Lu said Chinese nationals are law abiding and engage in genuine businesses in Nigeria.
While stating that the company takes good care of their workers contrary to the report, Lu said the basic salary of the least paid worker in the company is above the national minimum wage.
“Each employee gets two free meal tickets. Birthdays of employees are celebrated by the company. Workers with outstanding performance are rewarded on monthly basis with cash prices. The company implements social and pension insurance schemes for her workers; we place priority on the welfare of our workers.”
Counsel to the company, Nnamdi Nwokocha Ahaaiwe described the allegations as ‘lies from the pit of hell’, stressing that the COVID-19 safety protocols put in place by the company with the consent of the employees was misinterpreted as enslavement and putting workers in prison camps.
“Inner Galaxy Steel Company commenced operations in 2017 and has 1,000 workers. During the lockdown on COVID-19, the management called a
meeting with the employees and made it clear that those who wish to work during the indeterminate period of the COVID-19 will have to be housed in the company premises as they may not be able to get to work from homes.
“The company made an offer that workers who chose to stay within the company premises until restrictions in movements relaxed will be housed temporarily and it hastily erected accommodation which did not
exist prior to his time. Immediately after, befitting accommodation was put in place for workers”.
Ahaaiwe disclosed that workers who sustained injuries while working for the company were never abandoned, but treated in best hospitals around with the company picking the full medical bills and the
affected workers paid compensation.