Unfair treatment of Nigerians by foreign companies

An article in Nigeria Punch earlier this year narrated how Chinese and Indian companies are maltreating their Nigerian staff in Nigeria. The writer described the inhumane treatment was best as slave-like. Despite this ill-treatment,  new people flocked in and would rather stay at the job so their daily break is secured.

Foreign investors may be awful towards their Nigerian staff, the truth is that Nigerian owned companies are by miles worse. All foreign companies learn their horrific attitude towards staff from their Nigerian buddies and as common with humans, the only thing they did was to ‘up’ the ill-treatment a notch.

To demand to be treated at our jobs the way human beings should, we need to start by taken on companies owned by Nigerians first, then foreigners will naturally follow suits or successfully forced to.

During my brief time in Lagos after high school. I once had a job at a coal factory in Idimu Lagos. It pays ₦50/day. The pay was appealing so I quit my ₦350/month job for the coal factory job. I went to the factory with my sister’s neighbours and really excited about the prospect of earning more money.

The coal was in a big container (seemed so), about a hundred people working round the big heap of coal, some sat on top with sacks in their hands if they can’t find spots to sit on the floor. My job was to pick chunks of coal and arrange neatly in 5kg paperbag – a bit of bonus at the end of the day for those who picked most.

I don’t remember if there were any windows for ventilation as the lights were on throughout the day and the entrance door left open. Entering in the first instance, it was dark but after adjusting to the environment, one can see clear enough to get the job done and chat with a few fellow workers. We picked coals with bare hands, I used my scarf to cover nose.

Most of the jobs I have ever done up to that day have always been physically demanding jobs which wasn’t too bad as mind is left to wander and dream freely, however, I have never had to do any job that is synonymous to voluntary death sentence – I was 19 at the time.

I wanted to be ‘tough’ so went the second day. For the next two weeks, everything that came from my nose, throat, ears even eyes was black. My sister didn’t demand for rent or contribution towards food so easy for me to call it a quit. Mama Abasi, my sister’s neighbour stayed for almost a month before she left – actually she was terribly sick, complained of chest infection so had to stop.

I would not be surprised if this company (can’t remember its name) is still there today operating the same way. The saying was – soldier go, soldier come, barrack remains.

It never occurred for the sick to complain about the working environment because there is no one listening to the small people or cared about their health or poor pay.

If we are genuine about wanting better working conditions, we need to take on Nigeria owned company in the first instance.


Categories: Education, Nigeria

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. We will get there…. I love to tell myself this. Why? (I am going to be a party spoiler her)
    Well, I guess I am just optimistic, still. Everyday I read you blog & look up the topics you raise & the comments made, I get even more optimistic.

    My first diploma was in Cooperative studies & we learned about the industrial revolution & the untold hardship European workers suffered in those days, the UK labour experience actual started the Cooperatives movement. I look around me now & I feel we’re just evolving too. It has to get real bad for it to get better. After all, evolution is a long process & we really have been at it for ‘only’ 54 years now….. The industrial nations of the world today were at it for more than twice that amount of time or more. We just have to keep the pressure, shout it to the roof tops and remain steadfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you v. much for the read and for contributing to the discourse. You are being very kind with your comments – you didn’t think I am a whiner? 🙂 Thank you!

      Like you, I am very optimistic in a better, brighter Nigeria for all of us. While I’d love to talk about all the positive attributes of ours, I don’t believe masking areas where we seriously need to improve is the best way, so there, I come in 🙂

      Hopefully, with the advances in technology, we wouldn’t need to take too long to get there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the greatest challenge is finding the right people to complain to, officials that will take positive actions and not treat the issue as one of those things. You are right, the change we seek must begin from us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this day and age, enough is known to see the need to have a body to assure worker’s safety and protect their interests.
      Advertisement can be run on tvs and radio stations to inform citizens on the need to speak out if working conditions is bad. I know as a Nigerian, setting this up is a piece of cake but enforcing the rule of law is a different ball game – nonetheless it can be done.


      • These bodies do exist Sis, but how effective are they? As for the laws and enforcement…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Obviously their effectiveness is nil. Busy claiming for pay increase when existing roles are left unfulfilled. See sister, we have perfect example on plate now, TB Joshua killed over hundred people at his church due to illegal additions to the top of his church building, blinded by greed left structural walls unattended.

          For over a month now, no one has been arrested, there were lots of talk back and forth that signalled the sameness of Nigeria interwoveness (?) of religion and politics – his court appearance now 05 Nov.

          Here not just Nigerians watching, lots of people outside are too. Imagine if TB Joshua with his wealth and popularity happens to be a foreigner? Even if he would bribe, his butt would be roasting by now. Here churches are business ventures as far as I can see it.

          Thank you for comments, hopefully with you and I and millions of others – we will rise 🙂


  3. “Soldier go, soldier come, barrack remains” no matter where you are, “the song remains the same” taking care of our own, whether in Lagos or in Ferguson, or in Soweto, or in Kingston, “the song remains the same” we have to do better about ourselves and for ourselves. If not now, when, if not you and I, then who? “Soldier go, soldier come, the f’king barracks remains” coal mine, gold mine, cotton fields, cane fields or bean fields. If we don’t take care of our own, we have no excuse when ‘foreigners’ no matter how ‘kindly’ they at first appear treat us (no matter where “we” may be) like the ‘animals’ history has conditioned them to believe we are. Remember, even Judas found his soul – eventually –

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charity truly begins at home. Before we can demand that others treat us better, we have to start treating ourselves better.

    Liked by 1 person

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