NIGERIA: How Envious Boss Bullied Bank Driver To Death For Getting Promotion

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was on Wednesday informed about a bank staff who was allegedly bullied by his boss, had his employment terminated and eventually died after months of depression without a job.

The sad incident bordering on workplace bullying was shared at the NHRC Chambers in Abuja by a Non-Governmental Organization known as Equality Development and Research Cente, headed by a lawyer and human rights activist, Marshal Nwanne….CONTINUE READING

According to her, she spoke to the deceased person’s banker identified as Mr. Tony, adding that his testimony formed part of the driving force of the NGO’s advocacy.

She explained that Tony was employed as a driver in a bank in Nigeria (she declined to name the financial institution), worked diligently and was subsequently admitted into the institution as a banker through his boss.

Nwanne added that the deceased started having issues with his then boss when other superiors in the bank started liking him.

Her words,”We know a lot of people that have gone through workplace bullying and have lost their lives.

“Before I begin, I will tell the story of Mr. Tony who was working with one of the banks in Nigeria. He was employed by his boss as a driver. And Tony was working in the loans collection department, a department where they send staff to collect interest.

“Apparently, he was working even harder than the bankers per se because he had almost 90 percent success even though he was a driver and not one of the loan officers of the bank.

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“So, eventually, his boss encouraged him to apply as a banker, he applied for the role and Tony was celebrated and loved by everyone because of his humility.

“Then because other bosses liked Tony as well, they asked him to do things for them and he would do it. So, the boss (who asked him to apply for the role of a banker) found out he was no longer the center of attraction for Tony.”

Nwanne said Tony’s boss would scream at him, give him impossible tasks, and spread rumors about him but because the deceased worker’s salary had improved (from ₦40,000 as a driver to over ₦100,000 as a banker), he did not mind the bullying.

Incidentally, Nwanne, who said the account was narrated to her by Tony before he died, continued that there was a higher role in the bank and other bosses asked Tony to apply for it and he applied while running his Master’s program.

She added that the boss of the banker whom he worked under threatened he would lose his job if he wrote the promotion examination.

“His boss said to him that if he takes the promotional examination, he would make sure he does not make it but Tony went ahead to still apply.

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“Tony wrote the promotional examination and he passed.

“Then he got a call from the Lagos headquarters of the bank that his employment has been terminated and he should go to the office and collect his letter of disengagement.

“And he wrote his boss via email about the development and his boss replied that ‘I told you you wouldn’t make it, did you make it now.?’

“Tony left the bank, became very depressed and sick, and started having hallucinations till he was diagnosed with cancer and after a while, that young man is not here today,” she added.

The activist said her NGO through the deceased person’s wife later took the matter to court and the court awarded N5 million against the bank.

“We were lucky to interview him before he died. His wife took the case to court with a few of us that are lawyers and we got judgment in his favor.

“His wife was awarded a paltry sum of ₦5 million which she considered very huge. They have two kids and they don’t know their father,” she said.

The activist maintained that currently there is no single legislation that checkmates workplace bullying and that is why perpetrators get away with it.

“Until there is a high level of accountability where every bully is held accountable for his or her actions, this will continue happening.

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“And because we Nigerians are very tolerant, we have passed through the military regime and democratic government that might not have been very sincere and fair to us, all we want to do is to survive. That makes bullying look like it is very very low,” she said.

Reacting to the development, the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu SAN said Nigerians have become very tolerant, and as such, people suffer silently in the interest of peace.

He added that the Commission has also identified cases of bullying, “however, what we have done temporarily is to have a Trauma and counseling unit which speaks for us.”

“We got through pressure and depression. I myself, there are kinds of files I see and I start hallucinating: like a case of a 6-month-old baby being sexually harassed, ” he said, adding that the NHRC is already engaging in a sensitization program in schools.

He also observed that the political will to hold people accountable in Nigeria is still very low.

“Bullying is an issue because Nigerian society is a permissive one, adding that is why sexual and gender-based violence is happening so much in this country because victims are asked not to talk,” Ojukwu said….CONTINUE READING

The ES advised that while there should be a line of distinction between bullying and discipline, the Commission will collaborate with the NGO on addressing such human right violations.