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Customers battle 7-Up over unwholesome products!

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..Demand N150m compensation

..As 7-Up insists on re-assurance products

 

In a development that might see one of Nigeria’s leading soft drinks manufacturers, Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited, in a deep shit of bad corporate image, the company is still insisting on non-culpability in the whole matter that is now trending everywhere, albeit social media.

According to incontrovertible facts at our disposal, two presumed loyal customers have petitioned the company, for having verifiable purchased some of the company’s products and found strange unpalatable objects inside some of the products.

The petitioners, Mr. Folorunso Olusegun and Mr. Abiodun Kenny Miracle, are now demanding compensation, to the tune of N150million jointly, for the trauma they went through, as a result of the strange discovery of such objects in their products. They made this claim through their lawyer, Barrister Wale Ogunade. They claim that, at least, the amount being asked for would help to tone down its impact on them, saying that they were terrified about what could have happened to them if they had mistakenly consumed such insalubrious products presented to them as good products.

According to Folorunso Olusegun, one of the aggrieved customers “they bought crates of Mirinda mixed with other products intended for a party, and while they were sharing the drinks, a bottle of Mirinda was discovered to have a strange object inside, and immediately he alerted his sister and other people, who promptly advised him to sue the company for possible poisoning and negligence.”

In Abiodun Kenny Miracle’s claim, he said he also purchased some crates of Seven-Up drinks for a party too, and found a bottle of Seven-Up with similar objects. At this point, they jointly and severally decided to write the company for compensation on the advice of a lawyer friend, who told them that they have a good case. Sequel to this development, they sought the services of one Ronald Taiwo, who organized a meeting between the customers and Seven-Up company at Wale Ogunade Chambers in Ikeja, Lagos.

According to Mr. Folorunso, in the said meeting, the products were presented to the Assistant Legal Services/Property Manager, Seven-Up Bottling Co Limited, Ijora, Lagos State, Barr. Obinna Chima, who examined the bottles and indeed confirmed that the products were their products. He, (Folorunsho) noted that Mr. Chima, who acknowledged the fact that the bottles’ corks were intact, was however not ready to commit the company to do the needful to assuage the anger, displeasure and trauma they have been through since the discovery.  Mr. Chima, he noted, insisted on not compensating them, rather he was talking about re-assuring them with some packs of the products, which they (the petitioners) outright declined. After this insistence, another meeting was brokered by Mr. Chima, which held at the Seven-Up plant at Oregun, Ikeja, in which the petitioners, Ronald Taiwo and Barr. Ogunade were in attendance.

At the meeting, he said, Mr. Chima asked them what they wanted and they demanded N5 million each, as compensation for the stress they went through. Once again, according to him, Mr. Chima reiterated that the company, as a policy, does not delve into financial settlements with customers, instead goes for product re-assurance.

Thus, in a supporting letter to the company, dated February 22, 2018, which the company received and acknowledged on February 26, 2018, Barrister Wale Ogunade of Wale Ogunade Chambers, on behalf of the complainants, demanded the sum of N25 million to each petitioner from Seven-Up for presenting dangerous and defective products, not fit for human consumption andN50 million to each for the stress and trauma they went through.

This was necessitated by the inability of both parties to reach a compromise and settle the matter out of public domain. In a corresponding letter to Seven Up by the Principal Partner of Wale Ogunade Chambers, Wale Ogunade, for the law firm, the chambers demanded a cheque of N150 million for presenting dangerous and defective products not fit for human consumption to its clients. The letter reads in part: “…Take further notice that if we do not receive a cheque in sum of N150million in favour of our chambers, within 14 days of receipt of this letter, we shall take further legal steps in protecting our clients’ interest, including reporting the matter to the appropriate authorities and taking it to public domain, without any further recourse to you.”

Having gone through all the correspondences between both parties, this medium contacted Barr. Ogunade, who readily confirmed that a meeting was held in his office, with Seven-Up’s legal officer, Barr. Chima, who Ogunade said he was impressed with his conduct on the matter.

According to Ogunade, his junior colleague, Chima found it needless making the case public, saying that it will affect a number of people’s jobs and even the company, and so opted for reassurance of the customers with their products. “But I found that position inappropriate as they consider loss of jobs more important than lives of Nigerians, who may have died as a result of consuming unwholesome products like these; while re-assuring with products which might even be worst than what were presented before?”  Ogunade stated.

He continued: “That to me means that they are ready to sacrifice the lives of Nigerians for seven packs of their products. I was impressed with his diplomacy but this has been happening and we need to stop it. They have the responsibility of serving Nigerians with good and not unwholesome products, and this is not the first time. Chima saw the products and they were still well-corked, so it was from the factory and wasn’t as if anybody was trying to undermine them.”

More so, in line with Seven-Up product reassurance gait, the petitioners were called upon for another meeting to be held in Seven-Up, but Ogunade advised them not to go, as that might be tantamount to waste of time and destruction of evidence.

“They might collect the bottles from them and destroy them and so, we will not have any evidence to prosecute the matter in court. I advised them not to go. This is the situation and we are now ready for court action, but the clients are still weighing other options available to them,” he added.

On the possibility of winning the case, he said, “The possibility of winning the case is 99 per cent. It’s a good case.” However, all efforts to reach Ronald Taiwo to comment on this matter proved abortive, as several calls put across to his line didn’t go through. That was the position of the matter as at the time of filing in this story.

Attached are copies from the cambers and the company in this regards: Efforts to reach all parties concerned as at the time of filing in this story were futile.

– Culled from Airwaves Report

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INVESTIGATION

Ex-staffers battle Diamond Bank over unpaid severance fee

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We are not owing them  – Diamond Bank

 

Diamond Bank Plc. led by Uzoma Dozie is now at war with the 370 workers that were sacked by the bank with no severance entitlements.

This newspaper learnt that the management of Diamond Bank on 27th of May 2016 at about 5:30am sent an electronic mail to 370 of their member staff to notify them of termination of their appointment, without stating any objective reason. Most of the workers who didn’t receive the termination mail before leaving home to work were caught off guard as they couldn’t access their various work stations and were only able to find out about the termination of their appointment after renting their friend’s phone.

We gathered that the workers took their case to the National Assembly Committee on Public Petitions and the bank’s MD/CEO, Uzoma Dozie was summoned to appear before the committee on January 18th, 2018. Instead of showing up, he sent the Head Human Capital Management of the bank, Mr. Gabriel Nwokeafor to represent him.

Sources said that Mr. Gabriel Nwokeafor told the House Committee that the bank was ready to settle the matter and a meeting was held to that effect at Reiz Hotel, Abuja on January 19th, 2018 between Diamond Bank, its lawyer and seven representatives of the sacked workers alongside their lawyer and the bank agreed to pay the severance/redundancy benefits as computed but on the condition that the loans collected by the ex-workers will be deducted and the balance paid to them.

Be that as it may, we were told that the bank had reneged on that agreement. Besides, Mr. Gabriel on 28th March, 2018 refused to appear before the House Committee instead he sent two lawyers who refuted the agreements he made with the ex-workers and their lawyer on January 19th, 2018 on the ground that the case was still in Court and the sacked workers were asked to withdraw their case from the court.

The ex-workers not fully aware of the implication of their next action, subsequently withdrew the case from Court.

Sources added that Mr. Gabriel on April 24th, 2018 said that he cannot deny knowledge of the agreement he signed with the ex-workers and their lawyer, and the withdrawal of the case in court that there is no way the decision he reached with the sacked workers could be wholly binding as the CEO/MD of the bank was not present at the time. He added that he did not know that the entire decisions at the meeting was been recorded.

But in a statement made available to THE WITNESS on Thursday July 19, 2018, Diamond Bank however denied the allegations.

The statement reads in part “At Diamond Bank, we understand the value of strong governance principles that protect and places a premium on the welfare of our people.”

“The exit of the staff was in line with best practice and complied to all regulations.”

“Out of the 370 persons who left the employment of our bank, 274 of them voluntarily resigned their appointments and several of them have requested and have been issued with favourable references.”

“They were paid all their terminal benefits as stipulated under their contracts of employment.”

“Presently, we are not indebted to any of them. However, a number of them are indebted to the Bank over loan facilities they obtained and failed to repay.”

“We wish to state that this issue has been reported and deliberated upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as Federal Legislative bodies.” The lender stressed.

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INVESTIGATION

Fresh crisis hits Wema Bank

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Ademola Adebise, Managing Director, Wema Bank Plc.

 

One of the third tier financial institutions in Nigeria, Wema Bank Plc is in crisis. This newspaper gathered that the new Managing Director, Ademola Adebise has clampdown on ex-Managing Director, Olusegun Oloketuyi’s loyalist.

Insiders at the bank squealed to us that the new MD is plotting to remove some top bank employees loyal to the former MD and install his own loyalists in their place.

We were told that Ademola Adebise who came to power few weeks ago has already sacked five managers loyal to Olusegun Oloketuyi.

Our sources told us that the new MD is bent on flushing out all those who came from Skye Bank with the former MD.

Source: Top Celebrities

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INVESTIGATION

EFCC to probe Delta Gov. Okowa’s N736m substandard road project

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…..As Community Youths Protest Low Standard Job

 


 

Information reaching The Witness has revealed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), are set to take over the lingering case of the ongoing substandard road contract awarded to PORTPLUS limited, a marine service company, at the sum of N736, 404, 555.60 by the Delta State government.

It would be recalled that in March, 2017, Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa, had awarded to Portplus Limited, the contract to construct a three kilometers concrete pavement road with both sides drainages at Ikpide-Irri, a riverine community, Isoko South local government area of Delta state.

The substandard collapsed culvert.

The contract which is said to be a ‘kola-nut’ from the governor to the chairman of Portplus Limited, Mr. Immanuel Omoefe, an indigene of the community is already generating controversy following the substandard work and usage of low quality materials by the contractor, resulting to protest by the locals.

Speaking with our reporter, an EFCC official who does not want his name mentioned confided that, “Please don’t quote me, but I can tell you that the commission has been following stories from online media concerning the contract. We saw in the whole contract elements of fraud especially in the area of execution. We are very must interested in the issue”

One of the culverts being constructed with 10mm rods as against the specified 16mm on the BOQ

According to pur EFCC source, “As we talk, we are talking with the lawyer to the concerned indigenes of the community who petitioned governor Ifeanyi Okowa on the substandard work and he is cooperating with us.

“Once we receive the petitions been expected, our Benin city office in Edo state will swing into action and all names that will be mentioned especially the contractor would be invited for questioning. A colleague of mine in the ICPC told me too they are interested and will also step into the matter.”, Our EFCC source disclosed.

The concerned indigenes of the community through a petition addressed to governor Okowa last week and signed by their counsel, Mr. Chuks. F. Ebu, had raised the alarm of substandard job by the contractor saying that instead of construction of both sides drainages, using of rods and other materials specified in the Bill Of Quantity, (BOQ), the contractor went for substandard materials.

The 10mm used to construct one of the culverts.

The petition which was made available to tbis medium, copied the Commissioner of Police, state commissioner for works, member representing constituency 1 in the state house of Assembly, Orezi Esievo, State Director, SSS, Chairman, Isoko South local government area, all branch chairmen of Ikpide-Irri unions, President General, Isoko Development Union, (IDU) and others.

According to the petition with the title “Re:Construction Of Ikpide-Irri Township Roads: Protest Against The Substandard Job And Call For Strict Adherence To The Bill Of Quantity.”, failure by the contractor to adhere strictly to the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation, ( BEME), the BOQ and other contract papers, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies would be invited into the contract.

“That the culverts should be reconstructed because the converts construction was not met as rods used was 10mm at interval of 300mm instead of 16mm at interval of 150mm spacing specified in the drawings and the original Bill Of Quantity (BOQ) and concrete mixed was very poor. Also the size specified in the drawings was not professionally followed.”

Our correspondent reliably gathered that few days ago one of the controversial culverts carrying 10mm rods as against the specified 16mm collapsed during a visit by some persons from the Ministry of works.

Meanwhile, the community youths on Sunday staged a peaceful protest in the community and called on the contractor to as a matter of urgency and importance follow standards in the execution of the contract or be ready to face the music of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Speaking during the protest, the leader of the protest, an activist and indigene of the community who doubles as the President of Isoko Monitoring Group, (IMG), a Pan Isoko group known for championing of development in Isoko, Delta and beyond, Mr. Sebastine Agbefe, lamented the substandard work by Portplus limited and called on the contractor to immediately destroy and reconstruct all the culverts in the community that were done with 10mm instead of 16mm according to the BOQ.

“This is a fraud of the highest order, this is pure wickedness and we can no longer folds our arms and watch one man shortchange us because of his personal greed and selfishness. We are warning the contractor to destroy all the culverts done with 10mm and reconstruct same with 16mm according to the BOQ.

“The contractor should also make sure that both sides drainages are constructed on the road and must use standard materials specified on the BOQ. And again, Portplus must adhere strictly to the specifications on the BOQ and any attempt to compromise standards as far as this contract is concerned, Portplus will be made to face EFCC and ICPC.”, Mr. Agbefe stated.

The IMG president, however enjoined indigenes of the community, especially the youths not to take the laws into their hands even as he challenge all communities in Isoko nation to be involved in the monitoring of execution government projects in their various domains.

It was gathered that some of the youths and other indigenes who came out enmass were scared away from the protest by parents and relatives for fear of been victimized by power that be in the community that is already compromised by the contractor.

Our correspondent reliably learnt that video clips and photographs of the substandard work taken during the protest will be sent to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as requested.

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