How top Nigerian staff was allegedly harassed, forced out of Ericsson

Ericsson Headquarters in Sweden (Photo Credit: Ventures Africa)

A Nigerian woman was allegedly forced out of the employment of Ericsson Nigerian Limited by an Indian and three other staff of the company, PREMIUM TIMES has gathered.

Joy Ndukwe, a former Account Manager for Airtel Nigeria at the company, said she was harassed, maltreated and forcefully eased out of the employment of the telecommunication company by Atul Ojah, the Indian, and three other staff of the company.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES through her lawyer, Stanley Imhanruor, the woman also claimed that the company has refused to pay her terminal benefits despite the ill treatment she was subjected to.

According to documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mrs. Ndukwe joined the services of the company as a contract staff in April 2001 and was offered regular employment in June 2006.

Consequently, she was elevated and designated as the Account Manager for Airtel Nigeria Limited, a portfolio she claimed covered 70 per cent of Airtel Nigeria total sales in the 14 countries where Ericsson operates in Africa.

Ericsson Nigeria, a corporate body registered in Nigeria, is a global brand and subsidiary of Ericsson Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, located in Stockholm, Sweden.

According to Mrs. Ndukwe, following her employment as regular staff in 2006, she was placed on an annual salary of N2 million, after which it was reviewed to N2.2 million in 2007. She added that based on the performance of the last review conducted in April 2017, her annual remuneration was placed at N9. 2 million (N9,172,834).

ALLEGED CONSPIRACY

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that trouble started when Mrs. Ndukwe applied for the position of Account Manager for Airtel West Africa after the company called for application to fill the vacancy on its website.

She argued that she performed well at the interview and was tipped as the candidate to fill the vacancy.

Things, however, took a different turn when her Indian boss, Atul Ojha, allegedly launched a series of attacks to ensure she did not clinch the job and was eased out of the company’s employment.

She also claimed that several staff of the company sent in congratulatory messages to her, saying her acceptance letter had been deposited with her boss as the only successful candidate. She explained that rather than hand over the letter to her, Mr. Ojha offered to assist her with an external job at American Towers, an offer she rejected.

Subsequently, she said she was summoned to a meeting in September by one Omoniyi Adejoro, another staff of the company.

At the meeting, Mrs. Ndukwe said she was bullied and harassed for having the effrontery to apply for placements reserved for expatriates. She explained that she, however, stood her ground and refused to be intimidated, saying such claims contradict the company’s recruitment policy.

Thereafter, she said she was directed to resign voluntarily by Mr. Omoniyi, together with two other non-Nigerian staff of the company, Aaakash Seghal and Rutger Reman.

Mrs. Ndukwe said the pressure and intimidation took a toll on her health, prompting her to embark on medical sick leave in September. She, however, claimed that even while on sick leave, attempts were made by the trio to kidnap her and compel her to sign an agreement indicating that she voluntarily resigned.

Mrs. Ndukwe explained further that she was threatened by Mr. Ojha and others that if she refused to resign and allow them announce the name of their preferred candidate, her position as Account Manager of Airtel Nigeria would be declared vacant and her terminal benefits would be slashed.

The ex-Ericsson staff claimed that after she refused to bow to pressure, Mr Ojha and others allegedly caused her profile to be removed from the company’s system globally, a development that created the impression that she had resigned even when she was still on sick leave.

Subsequently, in a letter dated October 10, the company declared her position redundant and purportedly computed her terminal benefits at N25, 708, 969.

The company’s decision also led to the withdrawal of her health insurance services at Reddington and Saint Nicholas hospitals, where she had been hospitalized for extremely high blood pressure and nervous breakdown occasioned by the harassment suffered in the hands of her Indian boss and others.

But Mr. Imhanruor told PREMIUM TIMES that contrary to the company’s computation, Mrs. Ndukwe’s terminal benefit for the 11 years and 122 days of her service at the company is N37, 440,610, adding that despite repeated demands the company has refused to pay.

When PREMIUM TIMES visited the head office of Ericsson in Victoria Island, the company’s spokesperson, Toju Egbedi, said the matter had been referred to the court and the company would not want to comment on it.

She however sent what she described as the company’s ‘official statement’ to PREMIUM TIMES.

“There is an active ongoing court case around this issue and Ericsson can therefore not comment. Ericsson has previously communicated that a key component of the company’s focused business strategy is to reduce costs and increase efficiency,” the statement read.

“Executing on these plans to cut costs has unfortunately had an impact on some of our employees across the world, including in Nigeria. We are, however, making every effort to ensure that our core values of professionalism, perseverance and respect are adhered to in dealing with all affected employees. In addition, Ericsson has a firm Code of Business Ethics, which it ensures all employees acknowledge that they have read and understood at the time of employment.

“The acknowledgment process is refreshed every other year. When we uncover irregular activity or employee misconduct, we take action to limit the risk and ensure that this is not repeated anywhere within our organization,” the company concluded.

Mr. Imhanruor said the case was important because there is need to look into corruption and unfair treatment of workers in the private sector.

“More often than not we just concentrate on the government but the rate of mis-governance is more in the private sector. There is also the issue of racial discrimination because the other guys involved are Indian guys,” he said.

The case had been taken to court and it came up for the first time on November 29. It has however been adjourned till January 2018.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:"Warning to Men, These 3 Foods is Slowly Killing Your Erection". Click Here to Know Them


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Watch man

    This story is not too different from what many other high flyers of Nigeria extraction suffer in many multinational companies. The unfortunate thing is that they use Nigeria HR and IR personnel in this unfair practice. Matters are even worsened when they are taken to court where the company involved would use both delay tactics and financial muscle to frustrate their victim. Yet we say we have a govt. So disgraceful!

    • OGK

      Good talk, only you failed to mention that what goes round comes around. It is unfortunate that this woman is now feeling the heat, but we should not forget that people like her had been used to bring down fellow Nigerians all in the name of restructuring or to funnel millions of dollars useful to the Nigerian economy back to the foreign countries.

      • Mike

        please quit it. how did she play a role in funneling money out of the economy? Or you post tax remissions to bharti airtel ? What exactly is your point? If anything they are trying to extract value from ‘nigerian’ manpower and still not pay the labor provider her due….

    • MJ

      I agree this happens in many multinationals in Nigeria and HR are their execution poppies but Omoniyi’s case is a bit different. She is not someone that can be pushed around especially by an Indian working in Nigeria atleast to the best of my knowledge. She is very smart and has God-fathers in Ericsson board. She is evil and the worst ethnic bigot in Ericsson Nigeria. If she sees you as a threat or not of the same ethnic group, and your case comes up before her, she will opt to gladly plan your inhuman execution. I read some fellows saying Ericsson HQ Sweden may be concerned. Omoniyi over time has been seen as one of the backbones of Ericsson Nigeria by Ericsson top management in Sweden. They (in Sweden) know she will handle this one as always as the many cases in the past. Many that cannot endure this Omoniyi have left Ericsson for other upcoming telecom firms. Omoniyi is a shame.

  • monnie uwa

    Nigerians are enemies of each other. Which other animal kingdom can sure a waked act is allowed to happened and the indians will get away with it. The stories are the same every where you have this indians. Sufferig smiling, the ministry of labour will do nothing to protect her own. Suffering continues – useless nation, where the maker are law breakers with huge allowance, what happens to others is none of their business. Even is an African country this cannot happen.

  • Abdullah Musa

    May she triumph.
    But the fault is ours.
    Multinationals must choose between racism and profits.

    • most of us don’t value of human right because of money. i will try to follow her case

      • Abdullah Musa

        That will be good.

  • thusspokez

    At the meeting, Mrs. Ndukwe said she was bullied and harassed for having the effrontery to apply for placements reserved for expatriates

    Ms. Joy Ndukwe, by all accounts here and the length and record of service, is a good and competent accountant. She is the sort of person many organisations would head-hunt to work for them.

    Africans face racial discrimination all across the world; but to hear that this Nigerian hard-working accountants had suffered racial discrimination in her own country, in the hands of foreigners and lost her job as a result, is shocking indeed!

    Ms. Joy Ndukwe’ Senator or Rep or both also need raise this issue in parliament as it is a case of racial discrimination — which, in some parts of the world is a crime. It is outrageous and shameful indeed that even in Nigerian, Nigerians are not free of racial discriminations.

    Lastly if the officers of the Nigerian Immigration service or department responsible for issuing visas are reading this, they ought to note down the names: Atul Ojha, Aaakash Seghal and Rutger Reman. These foreigners’ visas should not be renewed when they come up for renewals.

    • This is happening because it is a big name tech company.

      • thusspokez

        Not true. The last thing any multinational companies like Ericsson would want, is to be accused of racial discrimination against its employee. These multinational companies have invested a lot into their image.

        The accusation of racial discrimination against its Nigerian division will be very damaging to Ericsson’s image across the world. And I don’t think Ericsson HQ in Sweden would be too happy with the head of the division in Nigeria if it heard about the incident.

  • This is not right in every angle, first this is a foreign company on nigeria soil and secondly they are harassed a citizen. If this is UK, will this kind of thing happen there. Just because our Nigerians don’t value there human rights, that why you can be treated like animals in our own country. This is awful.

  • John Dre

    They have to investigate about Atul Ojah, if is true let Nigerian labor enforce him out of Nigeria….Nigerian have a lot of learned people….

  • Anonymous

    Same old Omoniyi Adejoro (HR) remains an ethnic pervert. I knew a conspiracy is never complete and fruitful without her evil genius execution. If the conspiracy shares her legacy interest (ethnic bigotry), she will sell her conscience even to the extent of unholy alliance with Ericsson Nigeria’s snakes (Indians). I suffered similar treatment in her evil plan with my then Nigerian manager at Ericsson. I and my manager worshiped at same church (Day Star) before I left Nigeria but unfortunately even being a Christian was not enough to rise above ethnic discrimination in Ericsson. In all their plan, God that is not a man settled me in Europe beyond what I could ever imagined. These types of inhuman treatments in Ericsson will continue in Ericsson until the root of all these evils (Omoniyi Adejoro) is removed or changes by divine intervention. I pray Mrs Ndukwe gets justice even though it will be tough since Omoniyi is smart and has God fathers in Ericsson board and outside Ericsson.

  • MaskedPhantom

    “Same old Omoniyi Adejoro (HR) remains an ethnic pervert. I knew a conspiracy is never complete and fruitful without her evil genius execution. If the conspiracy shares her legacy interest (ethnic bigotry), she will sell her conscience even to the extent of unholy alliance with Ericsson Nigeria’s snakes (Indians). I suffered similar treatment in her evil plan with my then Nigerian manager at Ericsson. I and my manager worshiped at same church (Day Star) before I left Nigeria but unfortunately even being a Christian was not enough to rise above ethnic discrimination in Ericsson. In all their plan, God that is not a man settled me in Europe beyond what I could ever imagined. These types of inhuman treatments in Ericsson will continue in Ericsson until the root of all these evils (Omoniyi Adejoro) is removed or changes by divine intervention. I pray Mrs Ndukwe gets justice even though it will be tough since Omoniyi is smart and has God fathers in Ericsson board and outside Ericsson.”

    …When Nigerians, especially south waste scum, would go after their own budding entrepreneurs and industrialists, why won’t foreigners do worse