THERE has been a lot of outbursts following the claimed that the management of the Signatious Hotel, Warri, Delta State dehumanized four of its employees
Mr. Kenneth Gbagi, The Chairman of the hotel who is also the former Minister of State for Education, was alleged to have ordered that three women and a man working in the be stripped naked and having their nude pictures sent online.
Activists and social media users have frowned the act and urged Hafiz Inuwa, the state Commissioner of Police, to investigate the incident and arrest all those involved in the wicked act.
Newsnaija learned that Some human rights groups also took to the streets of Asaba to protest the dehumanization of the hotel workers, identified whose names were given as Gloria Oguzie, Victor Ephraim, Rosslyn Okiemute, and Precious Achibong.
The activists were seen with placards having different inscriptions, such as, ‘Human rights under attack in Delta State’, and ‘We say no to bad justice in Nigeria,’ called on the federal and state governments and lawyers to assist the victims to get justice.
Victor Ojei, The leader of the protesters and Director, Young Nigerian Right Organization, claimed that the hotel owner ordered the arrest of the workers over N5,000 adding that the ladies were stripped naked in the presence of the police, who were called in to take them into custody.
Ojei, said, “Three females and one man were held hostage, stripped naked in the hotel room, photographed and put on video camera by the management of the hotel.
In his statement, he said “Last week Friday, the management of the hotel stripped the ladies naked, filmed them in the presence of the police and at gunpoint. Cash was also withdrawn from the victims’ accounts through their ATM cards before the police bundled them into a waiting van.
The human rights activist said “The police, who should protect the citizens, connived with the hotel management and dehumanized them. Let’s assume that they stole the money, there are channels to address such matters.”
Also, a lawyer, identified as Collins Chidiebere, said human rights organizations could no longer keep quiet over constant abuses in the state.
The lawyer stated, “Human rights are meant to be respected; those victims were kidnapped, held hostage, stripped naked for a period of four days, because of a mere allegation of stealing.
“There is a court of competent jurisdiction that should look into the matter and confirm whether these persons are innocent or guilty of the allegation. No one should take the law into their own hands.”
Also, Another lawyer, identified as Omemiroro Ogedegbe, told our source that a petition raised would be sent to the state Commissioner of Police.
Ogedegbe, said, “The workers were arrested on Friday. By Sunday, we got information that they were not granted bail, because of their economic conditions. We intervened and asked the Divisional Police Officer to charge them.
“It was after their bail that they narrated their ordeal. They said Gbagi ordered that they should be stripped naked and videoed.”
Meanwhile, Egba Ederoghene, The Director, Human Resources, Signatious Hotel, in a statement, said the allegations were meant to destroy the reputation of the former minister.
The statement was titled, ‘The futile attempt of political detractors to blackmail Gbagi’.
He said, “We wish to clearly state that there has never been a time when Gbagi subject any staff of the hotel to such humiliation, as he is presently bereaved and occupied with preparing for the funeral of his sister, who passed away recently.
“The management also wishes to use this opportunity to inform the public that the staff members in the pictures are part of a malicious conspiracy by some political detractors to bring Gbagi’s character to disrepute. This is not the first time an attempt has been made to stain the character of our chairman for whatever reason.
“In the absence of any dirt to nail Gbagi’s spotless reputation, they have descended to slander by putting up a fake story to stir emotions and gain public attention.
He added by saying those behind this blackmail against Gbagi failed to realize that the employees, whom they handpicked for their dirty and poorly executed job, were already under investigation by the management for conniving to steal huge sums of money from the hotel, some of which have been recovered. Confessional statements to this effect can be obtained from the Ebrumede Police Station.”
Ederoghene said the lawyers and activists speaking for the victims were sponsored “so as to serve the political interest of their paymasters.”
Meanwhile, The former minister, who expressed shock, in his personal reaction, promised to look into it.
While addressing journalists the former minister denied any involvement in the matter.
He said “I have handed over the running of the hotel to a management team,” however, claimed that his political enemies are taking advantage of the incident to rubbish his ambition ahead of the 2023 governorship race in the state.
Meanwhile trying to speak to Two affected workers, for comments proved abortive
Newsnaija also gathered that they were arraigned on five counts of stealing various sums from the hotel, including N156,000; N111,000; N5,000, and N2,000, and the magistrate admitted them to bail in liberal terms.
However, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, The state Police Public Relations Officer, said she was not aware that the workers were stripped naked