Oyo State government on Thursday, sealed up Henkel Nigeria Limited, the soap factory, where Richard Gbadebo, a-300-level student of the Department of European Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, died in an industrial accident on Monday, this week.
Officials of the Department of Pollution Monitoring and Quality Control from the ministry of environment led by the permanent secretary, Dr Bashir Olanrewaju, met resistance from the workers at the premises of the factory at Oluyole Estate Extension to seal the company in order to pave way for investigation into the incident.
Some Staff of the factory reportedly restrained the move by the government and held the ministry officials and journalists that followed them, hostage, for about 30 minutes, before the Commissioner of Police in the state, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, intervened and got them released.
The government officials, however, directed all workers in the factory to exit the whole premises before they padlocked all the gates and sealed up the factory.
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Olanrewaju, said the concern of the state government is to provide jobs and ensure safety and security of its citizens, but the company failed to report the incident to the government since Tuesday, adding that ministry only read about the incident in the news.
The Director, Pollution Monitoring and Quality Control, Mrs Modupe Adeleye, said the government would begin a thorough investigation into the activities that led to the death of Richard, who was said to be an intern in the factory.
Also, the Landlord Association of Oluyole Estate Extension, led by Mr Bayo Scott-Ashley was at the factory on Thursday and lodged complaints of environmental pollution.
Recall that, the late Richard died after he slipped into a soap-making machine of the factory, makers of WAW detergent and bar soap. The deceased, who was on night shift, had nylon rolled around his hand and in the process of trying to detach himself, the nylon pulled him into the machine, which was said to have crushed him.
The deceased’s co-workers didn’t know that the machine had crushed Richard until they saw blood coming out through the other side of the machine.
Meanwhile, Henkel in a statement signed by its Human Resources Manager, Aliyu Jubril, explained that its representatives had met with the family, along with representatives from the student council to express its deepest condolences.
The statement partly reads: “It will be responsible for all the burial expenses for the deceased. It is also offering compensation to ameliorate the loss of Richard. While the compensation cannot replace human life, it will help to ameliorate the suffering of the family,” he said.