WARNING: The photographs are quite disturbing.
Workers in a Lagos based packaging and printing company, Toppan Packaging Company Limited located on Ladipo Oluwole in Ikeja Industrial Estate could not believe what they witnessed on Friday the 13th December 2013. When the shift manager, a Lebanese; Kaveh Noine beat up the Cleaning Unit Supervisor Mrs. Alice Ossai in their presence, due to what he deemed negligence on her part, his grouse, a portion of the factory is littered with dirt and she failed in her responsibility to rein in her team to keep the factory floor spick and span.
Frantic efforts by Ossai to explain why the portion of the factory was littered with dirt, even after she was assaulted was rebuffed by Noine who shouted her down and asked her to come with him to his office fuming with rage; exasperated staff members on duty went in with Ossai in a bid to collectively explain the supposed duty breach. Noine rained blows on Ossai and kicking her repeatedly, without sparing her tummy even though she was seven months pregnant.
Like many Nigerians working under similar conditions, took everything calmly even though she complained to her close friends that she was in deep pain put up a bold face and continued with her duty, bearing the shame and physical assault in her stride all in a bid to secure her job and that of two of her siblings who also works in the company.
However; when the news of her assault reached her two siblings; they made an attempt to retaliate on her behalf, Ossai dissuaded them from physically roughing up Noine, begging them to consider the financial burden they bear with the twelve thousand naira month salary paid each of them, as any attempt to confront Noine will eventually lead to their collective loss of income, a situation they cannot cope with giving the fact that they have an aged sick mother to take care off as well as other regular and emerging bills to pay.
Pregnant Ossai was helped home by some of her co-workers and her siblings that day; she resumed work the next day a Saturday 14th December even as the pain continued intermittently, even in pains and being pregnant, she carried out her supervisory cleaning assignments in order to save the family income. On Sunday she rested at home being a work free day even as the pain increased. She resumed on Monday but the pain had increased considerably and she could not carry out her cleaning supervisory assignments, at a point she leaned on the mop stick and clutched her stomach. By 10 pm on Monday she noticed patches of blood on her underwear, the flow progressed steadily and rapidly into clots of blood dripping out of her.
Family members had to rush her to Glorious Mercy Hospital close to her house where a Caesarian Section was carried out on Ossai, the Medical Director said that Ossai prognosis revealed that the Placenta progressively detached from the walls of Ossai’s Uterus, thereby Oxygen and other vital nutrients were denied her Feotus; in the days after the assault, hence the need to evacuate and save Ossai’s life.
Efforts by Ossai family members to arrest Noine yielded no result as he was said to have travelled to Canada on official assignment; but National Daily newspaper investigative team discovered that Noine was indeed in the office when a detachment of policemen from the Lagos Area F Police Command stormed the Oluwole Ladipo office of Toppan Packaging Company to effect his arrest. He hid in one of the disused offices and was later ferried out through a rear gate. Staff members pointedly assert that the police detachment is in collusion with the management as they failed to conduct a thorough search even when they were given a tip about his where about.
Ossai’s family members refused to leave the premises of the company since they are aware that Noine is hiding in one of the disused offices in the company and the detachment from Area F were only playing to the gallery, it took a detachment from the State Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) allegedly brought in by Toppan’s management, to forcibly dispersed them on Tuesday the 17th December. When bold members explained the development to SARS operatives they refused to make any arrest, but advised that they don’t constitute a breach of public peace, and should proceed to engage the services of a legal practitioner.
All attempt by National Daily to get an audience with the Area F Commander and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) over this incident as at press time proved abortive, but one of the Inspectors who was on the failed arrest bid directed this medium to the Public Relation Unit of the Command at Oduduwa in the Ikeja Government Residential Area.
The company’s Administrative Executive Mr. Abass acknowledged the incident but adds that the company has settled with the Police and that every enquiry over the incident should be directed at the authorities of the Area F Lagos Police Command with whom he claimed they have settled and resolved this matter.
Several calls made to Ngozi Braide Lagos State Police Public Relation Officer was not picked nor returned, even this text message “The crime desk of National Daily Newspaper will want to know the investigation status on the assault of a female Nigerian supervisor in Toppan Packaging Limited, Ikeja Mrs. Alice Alessandra Ossai by her Lebanese Manager Mr. Kaveh Noine which led to the loss of her 7 month pregnancy. The case was reported at the Area F police command” sent to Braide over this development was neither acknowledged nor replied to.
Sources say that this is one of the many physical assaults meted out by the said Noine on casual staff members on weekly basis. On Saturday December 7 Noine slapped and kicked one Ayo Philips whom he summarily dismissed from work and made to forfeit payments and monies due him. A physically drained Ossai while speaking with this medium on her sick bed said she never envisaged that she will be in this condition. She regretted not reporting the assault to the police immediately the incident happened.
In her words “It is the consideration for survival and the pervasive unemployment in the country that made me stomach the assault and the insult, I considered the fact that I am a casual worker and I have a sick and aged mother to take care of, I was expecting my baby in couple of weeks, I need money to take care of my delivery and the expected child, even when my siblings with whom I worked together in the company were going to have a show down with Noine I stopped them, I even went to work the following day in pains till I almost collapsed on the factory floor on Monday.
“Now I have lost on all fronts, I lost the baby, I lost the job, my health is in jeopardy and my spouse and I are in debt due to Noine assault. Now my family members are running from pillar to post to raise the money to pay for the Caesarian Section, I learnt I was given several pints of blood and I have received other drugs and medications”.
Elvis Ossai, Alice spouse said the fate that befell his wife is quiet unfortunate and avoidable. He offered that the officers and men of the Lagos Area F police command disappointed him over the way and manner they handled investigation into this incident; “I make bold to say to Nigerians that they connived with the management of Toppan Packaging Company to shield a foreigner who beat up Nigerian in her own country from facing justice. The assault on my wife led to the loss of a seven month pregnancy; instead of a naming ceremony we just conducted a funeral, we were denied the joy of parenthood just as we were looking forward to it”, Elvis said in an emotional laden voice