A Chinese company, Hongxing Steel Company Limited, has been accused of indiscriminate emission of noxious gas into the atmosphere and engaging in anti-labour practices. According to a petition by Free Bond Labour Services, FBLS, a non-governmental labour right organisation, the company’s activities “have terrible consequences” on human life and the environment. The company allegedly disposes its waste in utter disregard of environmental laws, triggering concern for public safety. It was also said that some neighbouring companies to Hongxing Steel Ltd, located at Rainbow, in the Amuwo Odofin axis of Lagos, have relocated.
The company is also accused of dumping into public drainages foul-smelling substances, making breathing difficult for workers and passers-by in the largely industrial area. “It’s a total mess while relevant federal and state agencies have looked away in criminal negligence of public safety,” says Wale Omotaje, Head of Secretariat, FBLS.
Moreover, FBLS equally said the Chinese company demonstrates “gross impunity for the Nigeria’s and international labour laws while its operations are shrouded in secrecy”.
The company engages in casualisation of labour, ignores safety measures and exposes workers to heavy machineries without protective gears. People have lost fingers, hands, limbs and, in some cases, their lives working for this company. We will continue to voice against this unwholesome development that tends to give a feeling of active connivance between authorities and owners of Hongxing to maim, oppress and murder Nigerians,” Omotaje added.
Newsbreak.Ng, two weeks ago, reached out to the company for its comment on the allegation. While at the company, our reporter was denied access beyond the gatehouse and equally prevented from having any contact with her phone.
The company promised to send a detailed response but failed to do so as at press time.
- Adefola Ademosu and Omobolanle Kougbe