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Rivers: Indorama dismisses reports of abandoning injured worker

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Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt

Indorama Eleme Petrochemical Limited, IEPC, a fertiliser production company in Rivers state, has dismissed claims by one Depreye David a worker of one of its contracted firms, that he was abandoned by the firm after sustaining severe injuries following an accident at the company.

Depreye David, a load masher and staff of SPEO Nigeria Limited, working at the Indorama bulk loading bay, had during a press briefing organised by Rivers Civil Society Organisations recently in Port Harcourt accused Indorama of abandoned for four years after he fell from a truck and shattered both his legs on December 23, 2020.

He alleged that the firm also refused to provide him with the medical supports he needed to recover from his injuries.

But the Indorama Eleme Petrochemical Limited, in a swift reaction to the accusation dismissed claims by Mr. Depreye that he was abandoned after his accident.

The firm, through it’s Head, Corporate Communications, Dr Jossy Nkwocha, at press conference in Port Harcourt said that Mr. Depreye lied, explaining that Indorama took full responsibility for his medical bills, noting that his employer, SPEO Nigeria Limited at the time of the accident was not registered with National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Nkwocha clarified that Depreye was rushed to the medical facility of Indorama where first aid was administered to him before he was transferred to Rehoboth Medical Service Hospital for a more comprehensive orthopedic treatment.

His words, “On 23rd December, 2020, Mr. Depreye, a Masher employed by SPEO Nigeria Limited and deployed to Indorama bulk loading bay, sustained injury on his two legs while at work in IFL complex.

“Indorama responded immediately by providing first aid medical treatment at the company’s clinic within the complex. He was thereafter transferred at the expense of Indorama to SPEO retainer hospital – Rehoboth Medical Service Hospital – where orthopedic medication was administered.

“In view of the fact that SPEO was at the time of the accident not registered with National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), he could not avail himself of the benefits accrueable to an employee who suffered workplace accident as provided under the Employee Compensation Act.”

Nkwocha, regretted that despite Indorama’s efforts to cater to the medical needs of Mr. Depreye proceeded to file a lawsuit against firm at the National Industrial Court, Port Harcourt, seeking a compensation of N8 million, plus Five hundred thousand naira legal fees.

“In March 2023 Mr. Depreye filed a lawsuit at the National Industrial Court Port Harcourt requesting the Court to compel his employer SPEO and Indorama to provide proper medical attention to his fractured leg and secondly to pay a total sum of N8 million as compensation plus N500,000 as Legal Fees.

“Upon being served with the court process, we invited Mr. Depreye and his lawyer to a meeting to resolve the matter amicably. In attendance was the Managing Director of SPEO and his lawyer.

“At that meeting on 19th April 2023, it was observed that there was a need to have further treatment to correct the surgery earlier conducted by Rehoboth Medical Service Hospital. The Claimant and SPEO recommended University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) as the hospital where the corrective surgery will be carried out.”

Explaining further, Dr. Nkwocha said, all parties at the meeting, after agreeing to access a corrective surgery at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), at the cost of N1.9 million, but Mr. Depreye after his initial visit to the hospital, suddenly rejected the surgery and opted for a traditional treatment in his village and demanding that the earmarked treatment sum be given to him, plus an additional N12 million as full and final settlement. He added that that were his prayers in court.

The Indorama Image maker said, “It is necessary to highlight the fact that Mr. Depreye is neither on medical leave nor currently hospitalized. The medical reports have not shown that he is unfit for work.

“Notwithstanding this umbrage, Indorama, on compassionate ground has invited Mr. Depreye and his lawyer to a meeting scheduled for Monday 5th February 2024 in the continuing search for an amicable resolution,” he said.

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