Kung fu kicks: Trouble as Nigerians demand prosecution of Chinese who crippled worker

Some Nigerians have demanded the arrest and prosecution of Master Wan, a Chinese employee of  Bedmate Furniture Company, who allegedly crippled a worker, William Ekanem, with Kung fu kicks on the premises of the company.

On different social media platforms, including PUNCH Online, Nigerians also asked the Ogun State Police Command to sanction the Divisional Crime Officer of the Ibafo Police Station for allegedly taking N50,000 bribe.

PUNCH Metro had reported that Ekanem, who had worked with the company since 2007, had a confrontation with Master Wan sometime in April 2017 over some foodstuffs the 27-year-old bought from a food vendor.

The Chinese man was alleged to have used his kung fu skills on the victim, kicking him from the back and stamping him on the chest.

The victim was taken to Beechland Hospital, Arepo, from where he was taken to Divine Touch Hospital after the former hospital allegedly said he was in a good condition.

A doctor at Divine Touch, Dr Dotun Odofin, however, said the victim sustained injuries which affected his mobility, adding that there was a “loss of lumbo, sacral curvature, and associated muscular spasm resulting in his inability to walk, bend and flex.”

Odofin also said the company abandoned Ekanem at his hospital.

The victim had also alleged that the DCO of Ibafo collected N50,000 from the Chinese company to deny him justice.

Although the company’s lawyer did not respond to enquiries from PUNCH Metro, the Nigerian manager of the company, Lekan, said the victim was pretending.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, had said the Ibafo Divisional Police Officer was on a special assignment in Maiduguri, promising to get back to our correspondent later.

Nigerians, however, called for justice for the victim, expressing disappointment in the police and the Nigerian company manager, Lekan.

On PUNCH Online, a reader, Obiejesi Kingsley, said, “Dear PUNCH Newspapers, you guys have distinguished yourself as the voice of the voiceless in Nigeria. Please don’t allow this story to die. It is only in Nigeria that citizens are molested at will by foreigners and those who should protect us will look the other way. If this Chinese guy gets away with this, then it is a huge shame on Ogun State and Nigeria.”

Another reader, Akin, said, “It is quite unfortunate that a Nigerian could be treated like this in his own country with the connivance of his brothers who are policemen and fellow workers. It is high time our government rose up to check the excesses of these foreign companies that treat their workers with disdain.”

One PolyGon2013, said, “The Senator or representative of the area should weigh into this. Someone should contact Akwa Ibom State to work with Ogun State to take the company to court and get justice for this victim!”

Another reader, Daniel Dalon, called for the dismissal of the DCO.

He said, “(I recommend) immediate dismissal of the DCO of the police station, immediate arrest and prosecution of Mr. Wan and payment of all the hospital and feeding bills of the victim. Having a slip disc or spinal cord injury means a lot. Even if he gets well, the problem will still recur. Immediate compensation must be paid. In such cases, 25 years’ salaries are paid in advance, which is N34,000 x 12 x 25 = N10,200,000.”

On Facebook, one Nwoye Joseph, said, “Can a Nigerian treat a Chinese like this in their country? A lot of Nigerians are in different prisons in China for disobeying their laws. I cry for this country if actually this story is true. The DCO and Lekan didn’t know that their action is working against the image of Nigeria internally and externally. What this people wouldn’t do in their country, they do here without qualms because they know they can bribe their way out of our rotten system.”

The spokesperson for the Ogun State Police Command, Oyeyemi, said the case had been transferred to the Zone 2 Police Command after the Chinese company petitioned the command.

He said, “When the incident happened, it was reported at Ibafo division and the DCO was on top of the matter. Problem started because the victim’s lawyer demanded N50m compensation and the company said it would pay N134,000. The police cannot mandate the company to pay any money or force the victim to accept a particular amount; they will have to reach an agreement. Ours is to charge the case to court.

“But the victim didn’t want the matter charged to court because he wanted compensation. The case was transferred to the Area Command, and the Chinese company went to Zone 2 and got the matter transferred from the Area Command.

“The victim is claiming that he saw the DCO being given an envelope. If he truly saw that, how did he know it was N50,000 that was given to him?

“No matter how stupid a policeman may be, will he collect a bribe in the presence of a complainant? The man is just raising issues because the case is not going in his favour.”

The Medical Director of Beechland Hospital, Arepo, Ademola Imran, said the hospital never told the Chinese company that Ekanem was exaggerating his injuries.

He said, “He came in with some pains which we treated. He got better at the initial stage, but later, the pain became worse. We cannot say the guy is pretending because he is not a child.

“When he said the pain had increased, we did an X-ray for him and asked him to see an orthopaedic doctor, who changed his medication. That was the last we saw of him. If someone is having recurring pain, I cannot say he is pretending.” Punch

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