Kano Tan tannery closed after worker deaths

Nigeria
Published:  01 February, 2014

Following the death of four employees at a tannery in Challawa industrial area in late January, the Kano State government has ordered the indefinite closure of the company.

The tannery, Kano Tan Limited, was alleged to have caused the death of its four employees by asking them to clear skin debris from the water treatment pit within the company’s premises.

The pit, which is the main silo for the water used in the tanning process, is alleged to be highly toxic due to the chemical content in the water.

Some employees said the deceased were made to use a ladder to go down into the pit, which is about ten metres deep, to drain the water using buckets. They said the men were not given any protective gear for their safety.

It was in the process that the first victim got suffocated by the overwhelming stench of the chemicals used in the tanning process, the residue of which is released into the pit.

The management of the company promised to pay compensation to the families of the victims soon after their death; but a week later, when the families approached the company for negotiation on the issue, the management denied making such promise.

Meanwhile, the Kano State government has ordered the closure of the company pending while a panel completes an investigation in to the matter.

The Commissioner of Commerce, Dan Nuhu, together with his counterpart from the Ministry of Environment, who led a government fact-finding team to the company on January 30, effected government’s order and shut the company down.

A representative of the dead workers families, Abdullahi Panshekara, said that only the courts would determine the matter between the respective families and the company.

Since the closure, the company management has refused to comment on compensation and the shutdown.

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