A factory worker with Spring Feeds Limited, Adekunle Shokunbi, has lamented how he suffered an industrial accident that made him lose his right hand while working with the company in the Itamaga area of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Adekunle, alongside other colleagues was working when he attempted to clear the remnants of the animal feeds in the machine used in mixing the products at the company’s factory.
The 22-year-old said his right hand was inside the machine when his colleague, identified only as David, suddenly switched it on, adding that the machine cut his hand.
Adekunle said as he was writhing in pain, his colleagues rushed him to the Ijede General Hospital, adding that he lost consciousness when he got to the hospital.
He said, “I was employed as a stockist and at a point when the company was short-staffed, it started diversifying and I was directed to supervise workers at the factory.
“I was carrying out my daily duty on April 5 when I suddenly realised that the workload was too much for the available staff members. So, instead of sitting down to just supervise, I assisted the people working at the factory to offload the animal feeds that the machine had mixed into a sack.
“While working, I realised that there were remnants of animal feed inside the machine and decided to clear the remnants with my hand because that has been the way they usually clear remnants in the machine ever since I got there.
“As I was clearing the remnants, one of the staff members, David, switched on the machine while my hand was inside it and the machine cut my hand. I kept shouting that he should put off the machine but he panicked and the machine damaged my right hand severely. My colleagues quickly rushed me to the Ijede General Hospital and when I got there, I lost consciousness.”
Adekunle’s mother, Ajoke, said after her son was stabilised at the Ijede General Hospital, he was transferred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, from where he was transferred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, where Adekunle’s right hand was cut off during surgery.
The 46-year-old said, “I was at home when his dad called to inform me that a machine had cut my son’s hand. I was shocked. When I got to the hospital, I realised that his right hand had been bandaged so I could not see it properly. It was until we got to LUTH that I realised that he had sustained a very serious injury.
“We have been trying to have a meeting with the managing director of the company, but it has not been successful. She was insisting on meeting us at our house but we were advised to give a neutral ground for the meeting. So, we gave her the address of the neutral ground and when she got there and realised it was not our house, she zoomed off and we have not been able to have a meeting with her since then.”
A picture in possession of our correspondent showed Adekunle lying on a hospital bed with his hand bandaged.
Another picture showed the mangled hand in a bucket after being chopped off during surgery. A picture that showed the Ogun State indigene with no right hand was also seen.
The family’s lawyer, Olumide Adefila, while demanding justice for the victim, petitioned the managing director regarding the incident.
In the petition, dated May 4, 2022, Adefila demanded a prosthetic hand for Adekunle and N40m compensation.
The petition read in part, “Our client is just 22-year-old and will carry this shame and stigma of permanent disability for the rest of his life wherein he will be deprived of many things for as long as he lives.
“We have our client’s stern instruction to demand that a prosthetic hand be procured for him with immediate effect; that a workman compensation in the sum of N40m be paid to our client for the permanent and irreversible physical deformity suffered by our client due to no fault of his whilst being in the employment of your company.”
The MD of the company, Dayo Seriki, said the accident was caused by Adekunle, adding that he went beyond his duty.
He said, “It is not his duty to go and operate the machine; he went there on his own. How can somebody operate a machine without knowing about the machine? When the accident happened, I followed them everywhere and paid all the bills in the hospital. I have all my facts and figures as we never abandoned him.
“They said I should pay N100m, where will I get it? Do they want to kill me or cut my hand? Kunle Shokunbi is alive and I thank God for that, but if it is his mother that wants to dupe me because something happened to her child as she’s asking for N100m whereas the company is on a plot of land, so where is the money. We are still paying his salary.”