The Lagos State Police Command has demanded the dead foetus of Alexandra Ossai’s seven month pregnancy which was removed in an emergency surgery last month.
The foetus was removed after she was allegedly kicked on her stomach by her manager, Kaveh Noine, at work. At the time, Ossai was a supervisor at Toppan Printing Company.
It was gathered that the demand was made when Ossai’s doctor, Abdulkareem Shehu, made his statement at the command.
The police investigating team was said to have asked the doctor for the whereabouts of the dead foetus.
Shehu reportedly told the police that after the operation, the dead foetus was handed over to Ossai’s husband, as he was the father of the baby.
Ossai’s lawyer, Mr. Courage Erhuen, said, “I was informed today that the police have demanded the dead foetus. Since it was handed over to Ossai’s husband, I will inform him of the development; he would know where it was buried.
“However, Ossai’s husband cannot exhume it on his own. The issue of exhuming the body would have to be done through the coroner’s office. Even the hospital has no right to exhume the body; only the police can do that and they know what to do. Their demand doesn’t disturb the investigation; we have pictures. The matter is going to court.”
Meanwhile, some agencies of the Lagos State Government on Tuesday visited Toppan Printing Company which is located off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja. The team, which was led by the Director of the Office of the Public Defender, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, included the Lagos State Safety Commission, the Lagos State Building Control Agency, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, which Director, Mrs. Alaba Fadairo, was also present.
At the company, a construction project was underway within its premises. It was later gathered from the project manager on site that a five storey building was to be constructed at the site.
Officials of the LASBCA and the LASC, after inspecting the project, issued an abatement notice to the workers, saying the permit for the project was not obtained from the state government before construction started.
Close to the gate, a heap of refuse was observed on the ground despite claims from the Head of the Printing Department, one Mr. Anthony, that the company had a refuse disposal bin. When Anthony was questioned about the company’s toilets for its employees, he took the team of Lagos State officials to a building close to the gate that was under construction. He said that new toilets were being built and only showed the team one toilet currently in use which was in the manager’s department.
Despite assurances that no safety procedures or laws were being breached, Anthony who was also accompanied by another Lebanese that identified himself as Abass, could not show the team of officials the cloakroom where factory workers could change into their work clothes.
He claimed that there was no senior member of the management to speak with the officials. Toppan also denied ownership of the construction going on in the compound.
Anthony said, “Toppan is under a group; the Lee group. It is Chinese-owned. It is this same Lee group that owns the construction you see in the compound. We have nothing to do with that.”
There was a mild drama when Noine, came into the premises while the team was still conducting their investigation. On sighting Erhuen with the Lagos State officials, Noine quickly hurried into one of the buildings and went into hiding. He was not sighted again until the team left the premises.
OPD Director, Rotimi, said the visit was necessary to ascertain the safety of Toppan’s employees.
She said, “This case has now gone beyond the assault on Ossai; we are still working on that, but we want to see the safety precautions on ground in the company. This is why all the relevant government agencies are here. We have received information that the workers are being underpaid; unfortunately most of them are not around now.
“From what we have seen, there are not much safety precautions in place. There are no toilets and no cloakrooms for the workers to change; they change into their work clothes in the open. The female workers would be prone to sexual harassment that way.”