A report has been making the rounds alleging that two casual workers with Indian company, Chi Limited have lost their lives after a team of policemen opened fire on them during a protest at the company ’s headquarters on Ajao Estate, Lagos State .
19- year- old Daniel Osikoya, and the other, whose name had yet to be ascertained , reportedly died from the gun injuries they sustained in the leg and thigh respectively.
The workers had protested against perceived discrimination between them and the regular employees , saying the management only cater to the welfare of the full – time workers and ignore the protesters from the production department despite doing all the “strenuous jobs”
The alleged discrimination escalated with the distribution of Yuletide gift items by the company to only regular workers days ago. This led to the protesters , who work at the production department , unanimously deciding that each of them would take away a carton of the company ’s products – which range from Chivita juice , Happy Hour to Ice tea and Caprizone, among other dairy products – as their own New Year packages.
It was reported that the aggrieved workers were about to move the cartons out of the company’ s gate when the policemen invited by the management opened fire on them, resulting to the alleged deaths, Athough the management of Chi Limited is insisting that not two, but one person died in the incident.
The Lagos State Police Command said the workers had attacked policemen deployed in the area with caustic soda , injuring an inspector.
It added that the operatives responded within the ambit of the rules of engagement.
While many have criticised the actions of the police questioning why they couldn’t have douse the tension with tazers or teargas since the workers were only armed with caustic soda, the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos , SP Dolapo Badmos , was however quoted to have justified the Police’ actions.
“ The command received a distress call that workers of Chi Limited were disrupting business activities of the company”, she told Punch Newspaper.
Dolapo continues; “ The command ’s operatives were mobilised to the scene to douse tension , but the workers attacked the policemen , throwing caustic soda at them .
“ As a result , one inspector suffered severe burns and he is recovering in a hospital . Why should a policeman on duty be attacked ? That attitude should stop .
“ Attacks on policemen are not right and must be condemned ; they are also human beings with families .
“ The command received the report that one person was shot dead .
“ There is what we call rules of engagement and use of firearms under the police acts and regulations .
“ The command has studied the situation and discovered that the personnel deployed acted in accordance with the rules . ”
According to a statement signed by the Head of Corporate Affairs, Chi Limited, Bode Sojobi, and made available to newseveryhour.com, the Company said the incident happened when the workers tried to forcefully cart away products of the company.
Chi Limited said; “In the course of the encounter with the police, two of the workers sustained gunshot wounds. They were rushed to a nearby company-retained hospital for treatment. One of the injured workers is in stable condition in the hospital. The second injured worker was subsequently referred to a Teaching Hospital and was conveyed there in the company’s ambulance. Sadly, he later passed on.”
The Chivita management explained that the workers while trying to cart away the products damaged company’s properties and endangered the lives of other personnel within the premises in the process and that was why they called the police to take care of them.
Chivita Ltd, in the statement, however pride itself as an organisation that places high premium on human life and said the death is immensely painful to them, stating that it has sent its condolence to the deceased family.