The Lagos State Government has invited the parents of 14-year-old Joseph Ekwenobe (Jnr), who was electrocuted by a faulty machine at the factory of a Lagos-based Chinese footwear company, Cheng-Fa Nigeria Limited.
The state Public Advice Centre has urged Joseph’s parents to come forward and lodge a formal complaint against the company so as to enable the centre to investigate the matter and take necessary action.
PUNCH Metro had reported that the teenager was electrocuted while pouring materials into a faulty machine in the firm’s factory.
His colleagues had protested his death in front of the company at the Obasa area of Ikeja, Lagos.
The workers said they had complained about the faulty machine to the management in the past, but nothing was done about it, adding that Joseph’s death was avoidable.
They accused the management of being indifferent to the plight of the workers, adding that the machine developed a fault three days earlier and had electrocuted some workers in the past before killing Joseph.
Meanwhile, some lawyers and activists have condemned the practice of child labour in the country following Joseph’s electrocution.
A labour lawyer and activist, Femi Aborisade, who spoke with our correspondent on the development, said the Nigeria Labour Congress had failed in its duty of monitoring factories and companies, adding that measures needed to be taken to forestall any future occurrence of underage falling victims.
Another labour lawyer, Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, who noted that the government was not doing enough in terms of children being used as domestic workers, urged the parents of the victim, Joseph, to sue the company.
A human rights activist and Executive Director, Project Alert against Violence on Women and Children, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, urged the government to monitor the enforcement of the Child Rights Act.
However, some lawyers including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, have shown interest in the matter and have offered to handle the action that the family may institute against the firm pro bono, that is, free of charge.
Falana, who said it was unfortunate that a 14-year-old could be working in an industrial setting in the first instance, commiserated with his family and offered to take up the case against the firm free of charge.
Another lawyer, Nnamani Ogbonna, who contacted The PUNCH after the death of the teenager was first reported, also offered his service to the family pro bono.