At the headquarters of Chi Limited, makers of fast-moving consumer goods including Chivita, Indian staff who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms are promptly tested and treated, but Nigerians are not. A classic case of some animals being more equal than others!
In the last two weeks, at least six Nigerians who have exhibited COVID-19 symptoms at Chi Limited’s headquarters — at 14 Chivita Avenue, Ajao Estate — have all been forced to resume work at the office daily. Meanwhile, the company has been funding the treatment, isolation and recovery of its Indian staff.
In the month of February alone, a total of eight Indians who have had the virus have recovered after receiving treatment. Three more are currently down and isolating away from work; that’s at least 11 in all whose test costs were refunded by the company.
Staff who are in the know say the Indians check into private hospitals and the company reimburses them when they present their treatment vouchers. Straightforward process for them, but nothing like that for Nigerian staff!
Those of them who have had contact with the Indians who tested positive for the virus are not even allowed to self-isolate. Whenever they make the request, the feedback from the company is that any absenteeism from work in the name of self-isolation will be rewarded with no pay for those days.
The result is that Nigerian staff with symptoms are carrying on with life as normal or resorting to self-medication. One staff member who had contact with a positive case is currently self-medicating while trying to raise the N50,400 required to undergo the test at a private hospital. For Nigerian staff, requisitions for even trips made in the company’s name are difficult to clear.
Nigerian staff of CHi Limited with COVID-19-like symptoms want a similar treatment from the company. They’re asking the company to value their lives as much as the Indian contingents’. They aren’t asking for too much: “just test us for the virus the way they’re testing the Indians”!
Editor’s Note: This is a blog-style series on COVID-19 cover-ups began by the author on Twitter and Facebook in April 2020. To read more, please search out #fisayoscovid19series on thosesocial media platforms.
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