Thursday, February 7, 2013


I have always been concerned over the legislative position on very sensitive issues that impact so greatly in the lives of every Nigerian citizen and the country at large, in very recent times there seems to be a little spike of reawakening on the part of our legislators to boldly initiate these very sensitive bills that will in a large extent protect and create safety and security in all Nigeria workplaces. The first to come in this light was the passing of the Nigeria Occupational Health and Safety Bill in September, 2012 by the Nigerian Senate. We are still hoping and believing the final review of that bill should have been completed by now to allow the President assent to this bill so it can become a part of Nigerian law. Check through my previous articles for details on the Nigeria Occupational Health and Safety Bill.

I am so elated by this “CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER BILL” initiated by Senator Pius Ewherido. Kindly read through the publication in italics and highlights as reported by Dapo Falade, an Abuja correspondence of The Nigeria Tribune Newspapers.

“A bill seeking to become an act to make provisions creating the offence of corporate manslaughter and for matters incidental thereto passed through the second reading at the plenary of the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Pius Ewherido, passed through its first reading on September 20, 2012. In his lead debate, Ewherido, representing Delta Central, said the bill sought to create the offences of manslaughter to corporate organisations and agencies culpable for their wilful acts of negligence and dereliction of duty which eventually caused the death of a person.

He also said the bill, aimed at making it accessory to corporate manslaughter for persons who, while working with corporate bodies and agencies, failed, negligently performed and or sabotage their employers, resulting in the death of a person.

He said the provision of the bill was in line with Section 308 of the Criminal Code. The section referred to stated, “except as hereinafter set forth, any person who causes the death of another, directly or indirectly, by any means whatever is deemed to have killed that other person.”

He said the bill sought to fill the lacunae created by the restrictive definitions of killing in Sections 316 and 317 of the Criminal Code, when viewed against the broad definition in Section 308.

However, deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Senator Paulinus Igwe, kicked against the proposed bill, saying that it contradicted existing legislation.

Senator Magnus Abe joined some of his other colleagues to support the bill, saying that its emergence was timely.

In his remark, Senate President, David Mark, called on the legislators to give room for public hearing to enable widespread participation in the debate. The bill was thereafter referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary for further legislative action.

I got a little worried on the position of the deputy Senate President and a few of this other colleagues on this matter of great importance to Nigeria as a people. It is not a matter of contradicting existing legislations; it should be looked at from the point of safety and security for the Nigerian employee. You can never imagine how much the country looses annually by work related deaths and even severe occupational accidents that gets the victims incapacitated. Quantify it by the victims’ educational qualifications, work experience and the number of people that look up to him for their daily bread and even financial support to acquire education and a lot of other variables.

Have you ever imagined the feeling and the look on the face of an 80 years old retiree and his 75 years old wife when you come to break the sad news to them that their son got trapped in a machine while at work and he died on the spot? Have you even thought of an old man whose health is failing but has a life line through his only surviving son that pays his father’s monthly medical bill and now the same son has just been drowned as a result of an oil and gas platform that has just collapsed out of proper maintenance and absence of processes? Have you also imagined the pain you cause in a heart of a beloved wife loved exceedingly by her husband who she sees as her everything, she kisses her husband before he lives for work every morning and on this fateful day she got a call only to be told her husband was accidentally beheaded by a faulty machine that was being managed to meet production target? Have you imagined the heart break? Can you imagine the shine and smile you took out of a family? Who cares afterwards for the young woman who has been thrown into early widowhood she was never prepared for? Whoever bothers about the fate of the children and what becomes of them? Wouldn’t they drop out of school if they cannot meet the exorbitantly high bills we pay to acquire education in Nigeria? Will they grow up to love this society and country that never protected their father let alone their innocent lives? Will they express love to Nigeria and Nigerians or inflict everyone with pain? Remember, the doors we resfuse to shut during the day, criminals will certainly use same doors into our homes at night to attack us when we need a happy night rest the most.

We have had many cases of corporate manslaughter in Nigeria and the perpetuators go unpunished. When a man dies in the workplace out of negligence on the part of his employer by not making adequate provisions for health, safety and security of the employees, it is regarded as man slaughter and i think provision should be made within the ambit of the law for adequate punishment and of course good enough compensation for the family of the victims. This is what we are talking about and this is the law.

The workman did not die, the workman was killed.

Workplace safety brings cheers, workplace accident brings tears.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment. 

Ehi Iden



  1. I am in awe of your exposition of this subject. You really spoke for the poor Nigerian workers! Before now, the Nigerian worker, be it in the public or private sector has been at the mercy of the employer's craftiness as no one care to look in the direction of the worker's safety and health. I travelled to Port Harcourt recently to visit a relation. On reaching their I found one his sons to have been brown haired. A close examination showed me the you man has been playing with some hazardous substances. On questioning, he told me that he works with a company near Intels Aba Road Camp, Port Harcourt and the the company uses a lot of chemicals. To the question of the company having a safety program that could prevent workers getting harmed by the chemical, the young man said they do not as much as know if there is anything called safety let alone the program. I had to stop him working there before working-there stops him! The absence of enabling laws has remained the bane of safety in the country. I thank GOD for the likes Senator Pius Ewherido who have risen in one voice to save the workers from needless death and occupation illnesses and to curtail the carelessness of many employers.

    I believe if the bill scales the hurdles, the safety and health of an average Nigerian worker will take a lip into the improvement horizon.

    GOD bless you and Senator Pius Ewherido for this great milestone of achievement.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Chukwuemeka. That's Nigeria we have had to deal with but it is such a pity this is where we have found ourselves.

      We keep trusting God things get better with the likes of such modern day thinking Senators like Ewherido and Chris Anyanwu. But trust me, things we get better.

      We are planning to hold the first Occupational Health and Safety Summit in Lagos Nigeria, this will hold some time in July 2013. We will keep you posted on goings on.

    2. OHS awareness is still at the very low ebb in this country. The first thing to be done is to pass the law because occupational health and safety (OHS) is driven by legislation. But while this process is on, there is need for aggressive information and awareness campaign amongst the public. We, the various OHS professionals (OH nurses, OH hygienists, OH doctors, Safety professionals etc.) need to enlighten the people about OHS.
      Many people dont understand it; even the so-called legislators and others in government. That's why they cant pass the bill (they are dont understand it, therefore they may not see the reason for it). They do not realise that OHS contributes to national development. Member of the public too are so naive about it, thats why they are ignorantly and cheaply harmed at work. Knowledge is power.

      I am an OH professional, and I am always open to working with individuals or organisations, and making contributions as regards development of OHS in Nigeria.
      Can be reached on

      Looking forward to the summit.


    3. We thank God for the likes of Sen Pius Ewherido, Sen Magnus Abe and other crusaders of this "CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER BILL". Its high time Nigerian workers are set free. I am a safety professional as well and I would really appreciate updates on that said summit.


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  9. I am very worried about the understanding of our legislatures especially our deputy senate president,I am disappointed by it because Nigeria have come to a level where alot of Occupational Health and Safety regulation should put in place to keep the lives of our beloved citizen safe,The lack of this legislation have lead to flock of asian investor who need such environment to treat on carelessly.I pray that one day we can have a very safe workplace.I believe that bill should be pass and I stand by that bill