The Federal Government has restated its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the safety, health and well-being of workers in their various workplaces.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, stated this while inaugurating a Panel of Inquiry for the investigation of the death of Richard Gbadebo, a student, in the course of working in the premises of Expand Global Industries Ltd, Ibadan (HENKEL).
He said that in line with its responsibility, the Ministry conducted a preliminary investigation when the incident was reported to it.
He however noted that the Ministry later constituted a Panel of Inquiry at the request of the deceased’s family, and “in line with the provisions of Article 11 (d) of the ILO Convention No. 155 of 1981 on Occupational Safety and Health, and the Trade Disputes Act, CAP T8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Keyamo disclosed that Richard Gbadebo, a young Nigerian student, who sought to make a living through some (CASUAL) work at that organisation during the ASUU strike/COVID-19 lockdown last year, met his death due to “some alleged occupational negligence and hazard” at the premises of that company.
He charged the Panel to do a thorough, professional and diligent investigation of the circumstances that led to the death of Richard Gbadebo, and come up with fair and transparent findings and recommendations.
Members of the Panel of Inquiry include Mrs Lauretta Nneka Adogu, Director, Occupational Safety and Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (Chairman); Donald Kehinde Fakunle, Adedayo Akolade Mustapha, Oderinde Olaniyi Abiodun, all from Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Others are Comrade Tolu Akinmayowa, representing Trade Union Congress (TUC); Comrade Benson Upah, representing Nigeria Labour Congress; Comrade Dakien Naankoeloeng, representing National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE); Dr Kenneth C. Iregbu, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and Ogunmuko Babatunde, National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN).
Earlier, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, had stated that the inauguration of the Panel demonstrated Government’s commitment to ensuring that the safety, health and welfare of workers are guaranteed at all times.
He disclosed that “it is the legal obligation of employers to provide a conducive, safe and healthy workplace environment for its workers, devoid of inherent hazards that can lead to avoidable accidents.”
Tarfa added that likewise, “employees are duty bound to adhere to and strictly comply with the instructions provided by their employers with regards to their safety and health.”