Death, Diarrhea and Late Night Sackings: The Inside Story of an Unfolding Staff Nightmare at UBA and Dangote

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Last November, thousands of Lagosians including hundreds of UBA Bank employees attended what was billed as the ‘party of the year’ at the Lekki Special Events Centre on Admiralty Way.

The UBA RedTV Rave had everyone from Wizkid to Olamide to Jidenna to Burna Boy thrilling the festive crowd as UBA chairman Tony Elumelu and CEO Kennedy Uzoka mingled with the artists and guests.

On the surface, this was the best of times, as a bank that was clearly in rude health celebrated a successful year with thousands of employees, friends and family. The bank had also recently concluded a recruitment exercise that would add nearly 4,000 new employees to its staff strength, so the year ahead looked to be a promising one for most employees present. 

Unknown to them, while senior executives danced with Wizkid in the VIP area, one of the most brutal staff layoffs in Nigerian banking history was just around the corner. They partied well into the night and then showed up for work the following week as usual. A week went by. Two weeks. Four weeks. Then right at the start of the new year – a shocker.

Closed at 5.30PM, Terminated at 10.30PM

Ifunanya (name has been changed) was asked to wait behind at work on Friday January 3. As a 12-year UBA veteran including a long stint in her role as a Branch Operations Manager at a branch in Ojodu, Lagos, this was not an unusual request to receive. She was even used to working weekends so that the ATMs could remain functional and she could troubleshoot other onsite customer-facing issues. This time however, was different. 

Along with other staff members at the branch, she was asked to wait for a board meeting. By 10.30PM, the assembled staff were informed that their services were no longer required. They were then told verbally to write out their resignation letters on the spot and leave voluntarily or be forced out. At this point, her security pass was taken, and along with the other affected staff, her profile was unceremoniously deactivated from the bank’s internal system. She was reminded to drop her work ID on the way out, and thus ended a 12-year association with the bank.

When a relative of hers reached out to tell the story, he was keen to make the point that she was not an agency employee, but a full UBA employee on a monthly salary of N153,000. He could not understand why the bank would treat her that way. I heard similar stories from two other sources who insisted that they were coerced into resigning after being told that their services were no longer required right at the start of the new year.

Shocking and callous as these stories may have sounded, one of the first things you are taught in any professional journalism program is to always balance the story. So I sought an alternate account of what transpired, with the goal of putting the picture together to tell a complete story. There were conflicting accounts of the events of January 3 flying around, with some accounts describing a recruitment and promotion exercise without mentioning any firings, while others reported a purported “restructuring” at UBA, which is a well-known euphemism for “mass sack.”

I managed to establish contact with a current senior employee at UBA who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorised to speak about such matters. This was his account of what happened at UBA bank at the start of this year:

“Usually when anyone joins UBA with a Bachelor’s degree, they are put on a GT1 level (N80,000). After one year, they are promoted to GT2 (N100,000), then after another year ET1 (N140,000) which is where a lot of people get stuck on. If you are lucky, you get to ET2 (N165,000). So what UBA did was to meld those 4 levels into one (ET) so any one who was on GT1 and GT2 gets automatically promoted to ET2. Those that were on ET1 and ET2 got promoted to SET (Senior Executive Trainee). 

So it was a promotion of sorts, but honestly it was long overdue because compared to other banks, N80,000 for entry level staff is quite low. About the layoffs: I only know 4 people personally who got affected. The people affected were on manager grades and worked at the head office, they all reportedly got 6 months arrears.”

According to this source, he was not personally aware of the fate of any branch staff or what he termed ‘OND staff.’ He did however say that in his opinion, the bank handled the situation poorly and that Nigeria does need stronger labour laws to protect young graduates fresh out of school from exploitation for cheap labor at the hands of corporates like UBA. He also mentioned that he knows current UBA staff have not had a salary increase in ten years – a remarkable situation for workers in a country whose currency has declined 195 percent over the same period.

As it later emerged, more than 2,000 staff were affected by the shocking late-night cull at UBA. It also became increasingly clear that the firings had nothing to do with a harsh operating environment or decreased profitability. The bank which had brought together Nigeria’s most expensive music stars to perform at its end of year shindig was anything but struggling – it actually hired more people than if fired. What the sackings did though, was clear out a number of people in roles that the bank considered obsolete, particularly within branch operations.

It can definitely be argued that such restructuring is inevitable in the face of rapidly changing technology, which is hardly a terrible thing. What is also true however, is that the bank that paid huge sums of money to bring Burna Boy and Jidenna to an annual vanity event that adds nothing to its bottom line could also afford to retrain its redundant staff to fit into new roles –  instead of just sacking them and instantly bringing in thousands of readymade replacements.

Yet again, the actions of a Nigerian corporate made the point that Nigerian labour law, in addition to be being poorly enforced is also woefully inadequate and unfit for purpose. If after 12 years of useful service to a bank, Ifunanya could be dumped out onto the street without even a few hours of notice – and no regulatory action was forthcoming – then clearly, Nigerian employees working for Nigerian companies have a problem on their hands.

As much as the UBA situation made that point, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to unearth about another Nigerian corporate behemoth.

Diarrhea in India, Death in Ibeju-Lekki: The Unbelievable Story of Dangote Refinery

While senior executives at UBA House were going over the finer points of their plan to log 2,000 employees out of their work systems and force them to resign on the spot, a different level of labour exploitation was entering its fourth year about 73KM east of the Marina. There, at the site of the Dangote Refinery at the Free Trade Zone in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, the refinery was taking delivery of the world’s largest crude oil refining tower.

While this was predictably being celebrated across local and foreign media as the start of a glorious new chapter in Nigeria’s industrial history, I was speaking to a whistleblower with close and detailed knowledge of the project. What he had to say about the refinery project, the Indian project managers, the company’s internal culture and its much-publicised trainee program left me absolutely floored. Naturally I reached out to Dangote Group for a comment, but at press time I have received no response or acknowledgment.

My source, whom I shall call “Mukhtar” worked in and around the refinery project between 2016 and 2018, and what I found most distressing amidst everything he said was the revelation that deaths due to onsite accidents are not just known to happen at the refinery site, but are effectively covered up by Dangote. This he said, is because the people who die are mostly site labourers who are hired through staffing agencies instead of directly. When they die, it becomes the staffing company’s problem and the Dangote brand distances itself from it – even though the site owner is legally responsible for all safety-related incidents onsite.

Something else that struck me was that he implied that – contrary to all its public posturing – the company actually has no intention of using Nigerian engineers to run the refinery anytime soon. The trainee program that sent dozens of Engineering graduates for a one-year training program in India? “Strictly PR,” he said.

Accidents
The first batch of Dangote Refinery trainees head off to India in March 2016

For full effect, I have decided to reproduce the full and unredacted transcript of our conversation instead of using quotes and reported speech. Here is the conversation below:

ME: When we started this conversation, you mentioned that Dangote Refinery is exempt from Nigerian labour laws. What were you referencing?

Mukhtar: Because the refinery is in the FTZ, it is not subject to certain laws like local content laws. As such, even mundane jobs are given to non-Nigerian companies. Even the refinery’s fence wall was handled by a Chinese company. This didn’t stop long stretches of the fence from collapsing sometime in 2017. The FTZ affects Labour laws too. The company is not really under any obligation to employ Nigerians. They do so mostly for PR. All key decision makers are Indians (say 98%).

ME: There have been several horror stories about Indian-run businesses in Nigeria. Was this one of them?

Mukhtar: Yes, the Indians are quite racist. Some even demand to be referred to as “master”. To be fair, when this is reported, the HR unit makes a show of cautioning them. But I dont think anyone has ever been dismissed for it or seriously punished. Most of workers who meet their death on site are labourers. So their names might be known to many staff. I’ll see what I can get. It happens. It’s kept under wraps but it happens.

ME: Now you mentioned onsite deaths earlier. I want to know all about this. Why haven’t we heard anything about this?

Mukhtar: The refinery site is not really the best place to work. Mortality rate on site is quite high. People falling from heights or getting crushed by heavy vehicles/machines is quite common. These numbers are not reported because most staff are contract staff (or outsourced) so the company gets to wash its hands off such cases. But safety on site is the ultimate responsibility of the owner of the project. The construction site has a board that is supposed to display the safety statistics but it is never displays the truth. According to that board, there has never been a fatality on site. But in reality, I think 2018 had about 5 fatalities between January and March. If I were to guess, I’d say there have been over 25 fatalities since construction started in 2016/17.

ME: Now you said earlier that the trainee program was a washout and a disappointment. Fill me in on that.

Mukhtar: I was one of the first batch of engineers sent to India for training in 2016. In my opinion, the whole scheme was either poorly thought out or the company was somehow compelled to do it, and did so for PR. Our salaries were being paid into our accounts in Nigeria, so we were using our debit cards to access our Nigerian accounts for expenses over there) Around July 2016 when the naira went from around 160 per dollar to nearly double that number, our spending power was effectively halved.

ME: I also remember that there was a forex shortage crisis in 2016 and Nigerian bank cards stopped working outside the country.

Mukhtar: So when the banks eventually stopped all cards from functioning abroad, we were stranded. The company resorted to selling us dollars or rupees at the black market rate.They deducted the money from our salaries. We had accommodation (two adults per room) and feeding (Indian food which many of us did not like). Some of had to buy intercontinental dishes regularly, because Indian food is really not nice if you’re not into many smelly spices. It was crazy. Meanwhile we were told categorically that we would have Nigerian food and Nigerian cooks. It was a blatant lie by the Indian HR director.

Also, no arrangement was made for our medical care. Those who fell ill had to treat themselves from their pockets. During the currency crisis, those who fell ill had to rely on the rest of us to put together our spare change to pay for their treatment. The company promised to refund medical expenses, but this shouldn’t have been the situation in the first place.

ME: Tell me about the training program. What was the course content and the experience like? Was it what you were expecting?

Mukhtar: The training itself was a mess too. We were supposed to be trained to operate the refinery (at the time, it was said that it will be completed by mid 2017), but we were sent to a design company. These (designing a refinery and operating it) are two very, very different things. The trainers did not want us there in the first place. It was not a part of their initial contract with Dangote. Plus, they didn’t know what to teach us because designers are not operators. They were confused, several times, they asked us what we wanted to learn. But we could not know what we wanted to learn cos we knew nothing about the entire business. In the end, they reluctantly settled for teaching us design (skills we were/are unlikely to use cos the refinery was already 90% designed). 

ME: If you say that the refinery was “already 90% designed,” and you were learning design in India, that sounds like your presence was superfluous. Was the company really serious about sending you to learn skills to run a refinery?

Mukhtar: Indians will run the refinery. It will take many many many years before that refinery will be populated by just Nigerians. It was strictly PR. Anyways, the training with that design company was suddenly terminated on December 31st. Apparently, Dangote had not paid them a dime for all the months were were being taught design. They didn’t want to send us back to Nigeria so they moved us to the Dangote office in India. The office housed the Indian engineers (around 150 – 200 in number) who were supervising the design work being done by the design company. Now, it is interesting that these guys were working and earning as expatriates within their own country.

But realising that the “training” was a blunder, the company sent back some engineers to train in an actual refinery. So what was supposed to be a 1 year training became 2 years.

ME: Since returning to Nigeria, is there anything else you have noticed about the project that worries or disturbs you?

Mukhtar: Yes. So we have only the refinery at the FTZ, but the company gets to import things meant for other branches of the company duty-free. As a matter of fact, with the Dangote jetty in place and a customs office right there, the company no longer needs to clear stuff at Apapa. Dangote empire effectively has its own customs and port, because we cannot assume that the custom officers stationed at Dangote’s jetty/FTZ are extremely meticulous in checking what comes in and goes out. Personally, I find this disturbing. No non-military entity should be able to import stuff that easily into any country. This is bigger than just skipping custom duty payment.

–Ends–

Between bank staff being fired at 10.30PM and refinery site labourers being killed by workplace accidents without accountability, the sheer grimness of the picture facing Nigerian workers comes into stark relief. It is afterall, an employer’s market, with several thousand qualified people jostling for every job opening, which creates the possibility and incentive to treat staff like battery animals.

Whether the Labour Ministry is willing or able to do anything about such blatant labour exploitation is anybody’s guess. Nigeria’s government is increasingly weak and unable to impose its will on the country even territorially. In the event that the government did take interest, there is a valid fear that it would go to the other extreme and adopt a lazy anti-business Hugo Chavez approach, as it so often does. The real solution if there is to be one, must come from Nigerian labour having a stronger bargaining position through an improved economy. Anything else as it stands, is little more than a sticking plaster.

As Mukhtar mentioned, even inside the ridiculous situation of being financially stranded in a foreign country at the behest of an irresponsible and insincere Nigerian corporate, the vast majority of the group chose to suffer in silence. They did so because spending a year abroad learning useless information, suffering deprivation and experiencing diarrhea after being forced to eat unfamiliar food was still preferable to whatever alternative was at home.

Ultimately, that is the biggest problem facing Nigerian labour. 

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Those Seeking to Divide Oyo with Religion will Fail, Says Makinde

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Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

The Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, yesterday raised the alarm of people whom he said were seeking to divide the people of the state through religious sentiments, urging them  to find other jobs to do as the people of the  state cannot be divided along religious lines.

Makinde, while addressing the congregation at the St Paul Anglican Church in Yemetu, Ibadan, the state capital, during the 80th thanksgiving service for his mother, Mrs. Abigael Omojolagbe Makinde, said the state is too interconnected to be divided along religious lines.

Also, a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that some religious activists who are seeking to divide the people along religious lines would not succeed because, every home in the state has a full complement of both religions (Christianity and Islam), noting that  the nature of families in the state was such that adherents of different religions, especially Islam and Christianity, co-habit in the same family.

He stated that religion cannot therefore be exploited as a weapon to divide the people and cause disaffection and disunity in the state.

Makinde added that though it had become clear that some people “do not want the state government to succeed,” he was appreciative to God and the people for their continued support, promising that his government would continue to serve the state.

According to him, “I want to greet the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta States, Alhaji Dawud Akinola, because he is here with us today. What this means is that those who are seeking to use religion to divide us should look for another job.

“As a government, we will do what is right. There is no family in this state that doesn’t have a Muslim or Christian, so the issues of religion cannot divide us in Oyo State.”

Makinde also indicated that some saboteurs were striving to stall the efforts of his government to develop the state, adding, however, that his administration was determined to make the difference.

 “Once again, I thank the good people of Oyo State for your unalloyed support for this administration. Some people don’t want this government to succeed. Take for example, on my way here, I realised that some people intentionally dumped their refuse on the median. I know that it is not the people of this area that generated those wastes. Some people took it as their assignment to drop those wastes there knowing that I will go through that road today to this place today, but we thank God for His usual support. We will continue to serve the people of this state,” he said.

The governor also declared that his government has declared free and qualitative education in the state, which he said has come to stay in the state, noting that “when we were praying, someone said she has seen Mama Seyi (Governor’s mother) and that she too wants to give birth to a governor.

“For the first 13 years of my life, where we lived was not more than five minutes to where we are now. My mum was a Telephone Operator in the state secretariat. At Adeoyo State Hospital, my brother, Muyiwa, and I used to help her sell bread by the gate of the hospital.

“What can propel a child who used to live some five minutes away from here (Yemetu) to become a governor of Oyo State is education, and that is why we have declared that free and qualitative education has come to stay in the state.”

He charged parents and guardians to educate their wards, as according to him, education is what can make a difference in the life of a human being.

Earlier in his sermon titled: ‘Occupy till I come’, Reverend Dr. Samuel Osungbeju urged leaders to serve well so as to receive the reward of God.

“Serve well and the Lord will bless you,” he said, adding that the respective positions occupied by public officers are like talents given to them by God.

The post Those Seeking to Divide Oyo with Religion will Fail, Says Makinde appeared first on THISDAYLIVE.

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Watch: Irresponsible Lorry Casually Unloads Tonnes Of Garbage Into Sungai Kelang

Tap to listen to this article instead:

What’s the use of having a boat that ‘vacuums’ garbage out of the river if people are going to merrily throw it back in?!

As reported by Sinar Harian, a man who prefers to be addressed as Ahmad managed to record tonnes of garbage being casually dumped into Sungai Klang by irresponsible lorry drivers.

The 3-tonne lorry that carried domestic waste captured in the video was believed to have slipped into the area at Taman Medan through a gate nearby.

Lori selamba buang sampah dalam Sungai KlangSelamba tuang sampah ke dalam Sungai Klang. Itu perbuatan tidak bertanggungjawab pemandu lori yang berjaya dirakam di tepi Sungai Klang berhampiran Taman Medan di sini, lapor Wartawan Sinar Harian Edisi Sel/KL, Nur Farhana Abdul Manan

Posted by Sinar Harian on Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Allegedly, the site caretaker would allow certain lorries to pass through and litter there.

Ahmad stated that it has been 5 years since the activity started and although it stopped for a while, residents have observed that the lorries have started to moving back and forth from the site for a few days now.

“It started with only 5 lorries,”

“But it became worse as more than 20 lorries can be seen dumping their waste into the river without feeling any guilt.”

“Maybe they exploited public holidays with the idea that no authorities would work then,” said Ahmad.

He wasn’t sure whether the caretaker would collect money upon every entry or not. However, an excavator was prepared by the riverside to sweep remaining waste into the river, probably to cover up the illegal activity.

Ahmad insisted that something has to be done because the residents hate the sight of the river being polluted with tonnes of domestic garbage every day. Which stinks like heck.

“We have made a complaint before this to the land registry office but we don’t know whether they have taken any actions or not.”

“Complaints were also made to the local authority council member (PBT) but we didn’t see any action,” he ended.

Look, even if we don’t draw water directly from the river, it doesn’t mean that polluting it doesn’t affect us. That’s literal tonnes being dumped in. Stop being a Sampah Masyarakat. Someone, please jail them already!

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Lady beats her 13-year-old sister to death for bed wetting

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When a Lagos trader Mr. Emeka Omenka and his wife Ifeoma allowed their 13-year-old daughter Precious to visit her half-sister in Lekki, they never knew it was a decision they would regret the rest of their lives.

Precious, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 pupil died on October 25 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Metta from complications of the beating she allegedly received from her older half-sister Nneka and her mother Seki Eko on October 14.

According to the death certificate issued at the hospital, the primary and secondary causes of death were Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Cardiopulmonary Collapse.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days and causes a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body.

Other causes of AKI, the foundation said, are decreased blood flow to the kidney caused by shock, clotting, bleeding or severe diarrhoea, severe allergic reaction, overuse of pain medicines used to reduce swelling or relieve pain from headaches, colds, flu, and other ailments.

The teenager went to Nneka’s house in Ikota, Lekki on October 12 on the latter’s request.

Omenka said his 13-year-old daughter was returned on October 16 looking weak with complaints of body pains. He said Precious gave details of how she was kicked in the stomach, chest and sides several times, adding that she was beaten with a mop stick and a cable as well. They tried to relieve the pains with analgesics and hot water massage.

“I am in pain,” he said. “My heart is broken. I do not even know where to start. I am finding it so difficult to understand how my older daughter and her mother beat up my girl so badly to the point that she died as a result of wounds she sustained. Nneka is my first daughter. I had her out of wedlock with one Seki Eko I was in a relationship with. She runs a beer parlour at Oluwole Market. But Nneka was trained by my wife Ifeoma who loved her like her own child.

“When I got married to my wife, it was difficult for her to conceive and so she brought up Nneka like her own child. So, when she came and said Precious should come to her place in Ikota, we did not have any reason to deny her request. Her husband lives in Dubai. She promised to send her to a private school to appreciate my wife for taking care of her.

“Precious went to her place on October 12. It was that weekend that it rained all through. Then, on October 14, which was a Monday, it also rained and Precious said she peed on the bed. That was her offence that made my daughter and her mother to descend on her like that.

“When they finished, they brought her back and dumped her at my place in Apapa Road, Ebute Metta. She was complaining of body pains and narrated what happened to her at her sister’s place in tears. I could not bear it and I wept as she was talking.

“My wife and I bought painkillers that we gave her. My wife was also using hot water and cloth to massage her body. We did not know that it was so bad. When we saw that she was not getting better despite the painkillers, we decided to take her to FMC because that’s where she was born.

“She was already stooling on her body and her mother was cleaning it. So, at the hospital, she was rushed to the emergency room after the doctors said she was short of blood. They did so many tests and scans and discovered that she was bleeding internally and that her bladder burst too.

“She was in the hospital some days and was booked for emergency surgery. I was busy running around to raise money to save my daughter’s life. I even borrowed from friends and family members so that she could be saved but at last we lost her.

“Nneka did not tell me what happened to my daughter and did not even come to the hospital until her relative from her mother’s side who works at the FMC called her to rebuke her. That was when she came and spent about N14,000 on my daughter’s drugs that day.

“I did not go to the police station then because I was busy running around for my daughter to be alright. But after she passed on…my kinsmen advised I report at the station. I went to Denton Police Station and Iponri but they told me it did not happen in their jurisdiction and that I should go to Lekki to report.

“I just sent a message to her husband and told him what she did. My wife has been inconsolable since then.

“I want justice for my daughter. I feel very disappointed that this happened to my family. I want human rights to come and government to investigate this case. Nneka is my daughter but Precious is also my daughter and she did not deserve to die like that,” he said.

The mother of the deceased told our correspondent she was still in shock over the incident, denying insinuations that Precious might have been ill.

She said: “My daughter was very healthy and even cooked for her younger ones that day before following Nneka. Nneka and her mother should explain what happened to my daughter. Nneka was brought to my house when she was 17 and we trained her in the university. I never did any wrong to her and then, she chose to pay me back this way?”

Our correspondent contacted Nneka for her reaction to the allegation and she said she would call back because where she was in a noisy place. After 90 minutes, our correspondent called again but she asked, “Who gave you the information? I cannot answer you if you do not say who gave you information. If you are recording me, I am recording you too and we all have our exhibits.”

Later, a woman, Tolu Fagbayila who said she was Nneka’s manager and public relations person called but declined to give her client’s side of the story.

She insisted on a physical meeting for a way forward.

Our correspondent told her a physical meeting was not necessary and that Nneka’s reaction could be sent through email, WhatsApp or SMS by the lawyer or anyone speaking on her behalf but that was not done.

Nneka reportedly told those around her the teenager died as a result of ruptured appendicitis, adding that the girl was ill before she took her to her house.

Efforts to reach her mother Seki Eko on her telephone number were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, a coalition of child advocates has signified interest in the matter following The Nation online report of the case.

Mr. Omenka told our correspondent that the advocates have contacted and interviewed him, adding that they also volunteered to take over the case and ensure justice.

Sources at the police station said an order to exhume the teenager’s body would be sought so that autopsy could be conducted.

Police spokesman Bala Elkana confirmed the case was reported at Ajiwe Division in Ajah, adding that the suspects have been arrested.

He said, “The father of the girl reported the incident at Ajah Police Station. He said he has since buried the girl. We have arrested the suspects and the case has been transferred to homicide section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (SCIID) Yaba.”

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Lady beats her younger sister to death for bed wetting. – YabaLeftOnline

person

When a Lagos trader Mr. Emeka Omenka and his wife Ifeoma allowed their 13-year-old daughter Precious to visit her half-sister in Lekki, they never knew it was a decision they would regret the rest of their lives.

Precious, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 pupil died on October 25 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Metta from complications of the beating she allegedly received from her older half-sister Nneka and her mother Seki Eko on October 14.

According to the death certificate issued at the hospital, the primary and secondary causes of death were Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Cardiopulmonary Collapse.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days and causes a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body.

Other causes of AKI, the foundation said, are decreased blood flow to the kidney caused by shock, clotting, bleeding or severe diarrhoea, severe allergic reaction, overuse of pain medicines used to reduce swelling or relieve pain from headaches, colds, flu, and other ailments.

The teenager went to Nneka’s house in Ikota, Lekki on October 12 on the latter’s request.

Omenka said his 13-year-old daughter was returned on October 16 looking weak with complaints of body pains. He said Precious gave details of how she was kicked in the stomach, chest and sides several times, adding that she was beaten with a mop stick and a cable as well. They tried to relieve the pains with analgesics and hot water massage.

“I am in pain,” he said. “My heart is broken. I do not even know where to start. I am finding it so difficult to understand how my older daughter and her mother beat up my girl so badly to the point that she died as a result of wounds she sustained. Nneka is my first daughter. I had her out of wedlock with one Seki Eko I was in a relationship with. She runs a beer parlour at Oluwole Market. But Nneka was trained by my wife Ifeoma who loved her like her own child.

“When I got married to my wife, it was difficult for her to conceive and so she brought up Nneka like her own child. So, when she came and said Precious should come to her place in Ikota, we did not have any reason to deny her request. Her husband lives in Dubai. She promised to send her to a private school to appreciate my wife for taking care of her.

“Precious went to her place on October 12. It was that weekend that it rained all through. Then, on October 14, which was a Monday, it also rained and Precious said she peed on the bed. That was her offence that made my daughter and her mother to descend on her like that.

“When they finished, they brought her back and dumped her at my place in Apapa Road, Ebute Metta. She was complaining of body pains and narrated what happened to her at her sister’s place in tears. I could not bear it and I wept as she was talking.

“My wife and I bought painkillers that we gave her. My wife was also using hot water and cloth to massage her body. We did not know that it was so bad. When we saw that she was not getting better despite the painkillers, we decided to take her to FMC because that’s where she was born.

“She was already stooling on her body and her mother was cleaning it. So, at the hospital, she was rushed to the emergency room after the doctors said she was short of blood. They did so many tests and scans and discovered that she was bleeding internally and that her bladder burst too.

“She was in the hospital some days and was booked for emergency surgery. I was busy running around to raise money to save my daughter’s life. I even borrowed from friends and family members so that she could be saved but at last we lost her.

“Nneka did not tell me what happened to my daughter and did not even come to the hospital until her relative from her mother’s side who works at the FMC called her to rebuke her. That was when she came and spent about N14,000 on my daughter’s drugs that day.

I did not go to the police station then because I was busy running around for my daughter to be alright. But after she passed on…my kinsmen advised I report at the station. I went to Denton Police Station and Iponri but they told me it did not happen in their jurisdiction and that I should go to Lekki to report.

“I just sent a message to her husband and told him what she did. My wife has been inconsolable since then.

“I want justice for my daughter. I feel very disappointed that this happened to my family. I want human rights to come and government to investigate this case. Nneka is my daughter but Precious is also my daughter and she did not deserve to die like that,” he said.

The mother of the deceased told our correspondent she was still in shock over the incident, denying insinuations that Precious might have been ill.

She said: “My daughter was very healthy and even cooked for her younger ones that day before following Nneka. Nneka and her mother should explain what happened to my daughter. Nneka was brought to my house when she was 17 and we trained her in the university. I never did any wrong to her and then, she chose to pay me back this way?”

Our correspondent contacted Nneka for her reaction to the allegation and she said she would call back because where she was in a noisy place. After 90 minutes, our correspondent called again but she asked, “Who gave you the information? I cannot answer you if you do not say who gave you information. If you are recording me, I am recording you too and we all have our exhibits.”

Later, a woman, Tolu Fagbayila who said she was Nneka’s manager and public relations person called but declined to give her client’s side of the story.

She insisted on a physical meeting for a way forward.

Our correspondent told her a physical meeting was not necessary and that Nneka’s reaction could be sent through email, WhatsApp or SMS by the lawyer or anyone speaking on her behalf but that was not done.

Nneka reportedly told those around her the teenager died as a result of ruptured appendicitis, adding that the girl was ill before she took her to her house.

Efforts to reach her mother Seki Eko on her telephone number were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, a coalition of child advocates has signified interest in the matter following The Nation online report of the case.

Mr. Omenka told our correspondent that the advocates have contacted and interviewed him, adding that they also volunteered to take over the case and ensure justice.

Sources at the police station said an order to exhume the teenager’s body would be sought so that autopsy could be conducted.

Police spokesman Bala Elkana confirmed the case was reported at Ajiwe Division in Ajah, adding that the suspects have been arrested.

He said, “The father of the girl reported the incident at Ajah Police Station. He said he has since buried the girl. We have arrested the suspects and the case has been transferred to homicide section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (SCIID) Yaba.”

Source: The Nation.

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‘My daughter was beaten to death by her sister for bedwetting’

By Precious Igbonwelundu

When a Lagos trader Mr. Emeka Omenka and his wife Ifeoma allowed their 13-year-old daughter Precious to go visit her married stepsister in Lekki, they never knew it was a decision they would regret the rest of their lives.

Precious, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 pupil died on October 25 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Metta as a result of complications that arose from beatings she allegedly received from her older half-sister Mrs. Nneka and her mother Seki Eko on October 14 and 15.

It was gathered that the teenager, upon the request of Mrs. Nneka, went to the latter’s house at Ikota in Lekki on Saturday, October 12, only to be returned to her parents on October 16 in pains.

According to Mr. Omenka, Precious upon return complained of body pains and explained that she was mercilessly beaten by her elder sister, adding that Nneka’s mother who joined in beating her, kicked her several times in the stomach.

He said himself and his wife bought pain killers for her and used hot water to massage her body in the hopes that she would be relieved not knowing that the girl had internal injuries, bleeding as a result of the assaults she suffered.

“I am in pains. My heart is broken. I do not even know where to start. I am finding it so difficult to understand how my older daughter and her mother beat up my girl so badly to the point that she died as a result of wounds she sustained.

“Nneka is my first daughter. I had her out of wedlock with one Sike Eko I was in a relationship with. Her mother runs a beer parlour at Oyingbo. But Nneka was trained by my wife Ifeoma who loved her like her own child.

“When I got married to my wife, it was difficult for her to conceive and so, she brought up Nneka like her own child. So, when she came and said Precious should come to her place in Ikota, we did not have any reason to deny her request.

“She has been begging my wife for about two years now to allow Precious come and stay with her. Her husband lives in Dubai. She promised to send her to a private school to appreciate my wife for taking care of her when I married her.

“Precious went to her place on October 12. It was that weekend that it rained all through. Then, on October 14, which was a Monday, it also rained and Precious said she peed on the bed. That was her offence that made my daughter and her mother to descend on her like that.

“When they have finished, they brought her back and dumped her at my place in Apapa Road, Ebute Metta. She was complaining of body pains and narrated what happened to her at her sister’s place in tears. I could not bear it and I wept as she was talking.

a”My wife and I bought pain killers that we gave her. My wife was also using hot water and clothe to massage her body. We did not know that it was so bad. When we saw that she was not getting better despite the painkillers, we decided to take her to FMC because that’s where she was born.

“She was already stooling on her body and her mother was cleaning it. So, at the hospital, she was rushed to the Emergency room after the doctors said she was short of blood. They did so many tests and scans and discovered that she was bleeding internally and that her bladder burst too.

“She was in the hospital some days and was booked for emergency surgery. I was busy running around to raise money to save my daughter’s life. I even borrowed from friends and family members so that she could be saved but at least we lost her.

“Throughout this period, Nneka did not tell me what happened to my daughter. She did not even come to the hospital until her relative from her mother’s side who works at the FMC called her to rebuke her.

“That was when she came and spent about N14,000 on my daughter’s drugs that day. I am still trying to understand all these things because I honestly do not get it. I did not go to the police station then because I was busy running around for my daughter to be alright.

“But after she passed on and my kinsmen knew what happened, they advised I go and report at the station. I went to Denton Police Station and Iponri but they told me it did not happen in their jurisdiction and that I have to go to Lekki to report.

“How will I go to Lekki which is their area to report a case against her? Will I be able to afford the expenses? That is why I did not go there. I just sent a message to her husband and told him what she did. My wife has been inconsolable since then.

“Of course I want justice for my daughter. I feel.very disappointed that this happened to my family. I want human rights to come and government to investigate this case. Nneka is my daughter but Precious is also my daughter and she did not deserve to die like that,” he said.

Our correspondent contacted Mrs. Nneka for her reaction to the allegation and she said she would call back because where she was was noisy.

After 90 minutes without hearing from her, our correspondent called again but she insisted on knowing who gave her the information.

Her exact words: “Who gave you the information because I cannot answer you if you do not say who gave you information. If you are recording me, I am recording you too and we all have our exhibits.”

Efforts to reach her mother Sike Eko on her telephone number provided our Correspondent were unsuccessful at the time of this report.

Contacted, Police spokesman Bala Elkana said no such case was reported, urging the deceased’s parents to make an official report so that investigation would commence.

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Pastor’s wife catches hubby in secret wedding with another woman in Lagos

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The game of betrayals reportedly played out on Saturday in Ikotun area of Lagos between three supposed ministers of God after Pastor Olusegun Taiwo dumped his wife, Vicky, in Ogun State and secretly got engaged to another female pastor, Madam Wonder, and were eventually caught by his wife.

PM Express confirmed that the secret wedding between Pastor Olusegun Taiwo and the new wife, Pastor Wonder, took place at the Triumphant Base Global Ministry located at No. 6 Mathew Ojo Street by Whitehouse Bus Stop, off Governor’s Road, Ikotun, Lagos.

Pastor Olusegun, who lives at Ijoko area of Ogun State, arranged the wedding in Ikotun area of Lagos so that his wife would not know. But information got to his wife, she came to the wedding venue and disgraced Olusegun and his new wife, Wonder.

Pastor Olusegun was married but had separated with many wives, who had six children, before he got married to Vicky, who was also married but separated and had two children in 2011.

They went to Ikeja Marriage Registry to consummate the union, which subsists and they started a Church known as Christ Like Evangelical Mission with over N5m raised by Pastor Vicky. But the Church collapsed and Olusegun absconded from his home, where the church was located.

“When he finished my money, he absconded three years ago only to be informed that he had engaged another lady and their wedding was for today” Pastor Vicky said.

Pastor Taiwo’s game of betrayal was exposed when Pastor Vicky stormed the venue of the wedding and informed the guests that he was her legal husband and had not divorced her before engaging in another marriage with the female pastor, Wonder.

Some of the guests, who heard Pastor Vicky’s claims quickly left the venue of the wedding while Pastor Olusegun Taiwo almost collapsed when he sighted his wife at the wedding.

It was gathered that the Pastor might have convinced his new wife having assured her that he had no woman in his life before Pastor Vicky surfaced at the wedding venue.

P.M.EXPRESS gathered that Pastor Olusegun might have embarked on the new marriage after he realized that his new wife, Pastor Wonder, had many properties including a Church and was said to be partially blind probably to assist her to manage them.

It was not certain if the marriage will still stand after Pastor Olusegun’s legal wife raised alarm at the wedding venue and Pastor Wonder’s relations from Akwa Ibom State heard the shocking revelations from Pastor Vicky at the wedding venue.

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