The National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) has accused the Occupational Safety and Health Association, United Kingdom (OSHAssociation UK) of fraud and has called for prosecution of its Nigeria Regional Director, Engr. Emmanuel Uwalaka.
NISCN referred to it as a ‘criminal case’ and ‘rape’ of the OSH profession.
The council made it known in a statement signed on its behalf by the National President, Mr. Cletus Akhigbe, and sent to Safety Record Newspaper in April 27.
NISCN said OSHAssociation UK is fraudulent and non-existing in UK and was created by Nigerians to make money off ignorant and gullible Nigerians mostly heads of government agencies, MDs, CEOs, captains of industries, and the high and mighty in Nigeria.
NISCN equally called on all well-meaning safety professionals to join in the fight to rid the safety industry of such “scams and sanitise the noble profession and save the nation and its people from wastage and embarrassment.
According to the statement, the councils position was based on findings of investigations conducted by her after several allegations from different persons of how Engr. Uwalaka was allegedly masterminding fraudulent acts of conducting trainings, issuing awards and certificates, and other acts of making money off ignorant Nigerians with a UK-based association that does not exist.
On account of the revelations, NISCN said that it investigated the activities of OSHAssociation and, through relevant documentation evidence and meeting with Engr. Emmanuel Uwalaka in his office, discovered the masterminds and collaborators.
According to the findings of the investigation, there is no such registered organisation in UK or anywhere in the world; OSHassociation UK has been in operation for over four years in Nigeria; and that Elak Nigeria owned by Mr. Emmanuel Uwalaka brought the association into Nigeria.
The investigation also revealed that OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ASSOCIATION LIMITED is the owner of the registration number 8438377 which OSHAssociation UK is using as their UK and Wales registration number and while a check was carried out on company with number 8438377 OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ASSOCIATION LIMITED on companieshouse.gov.uk, it learnt that the company has been dissolved since May 2017.
Hence, the investigation showed that the name the association is using to “defraud Nigerians” – OSHAssociation UK – does not exist in UK, and the one with this number 8438377 (Occupational Safety and Health Association Limited) was opened by two Nigerians, Sunday Nosa Odigie, who is no longer a part of the company, and Francis Onyela.
In an attempt to cover up the ploy, when enquiries into the activities of the fraudulent and non-existing company started, the investigation discovered that Francis Onyela – who opens the dissolved company with registration number 8438377 and one Kingsley Ihejirika, has opened a new company Occupational Safety and Health Association on March 21, 2018.
However, when NISCN contacted UK Company House through email, the council was advised to take the matter to authorities in Nigeria if they have discovered anyone using the name of a dissolved company outside UK.
When Safety Record Newspaper contacted the national president of NISCN, Mr. Cletus Akhigbe, to verify the authenticity of the document received, he affirmed that the organisation, Occupational Safety and Health Association, United Kingdom (OSHAssociation UK) does not exist.
Akhigbe said that NISCN was making the world aware of the fraud after its investigation into the association showed that it does not exist anywhere.
According to him, “They said they are an association registered in UK and Wales, the council is one making the world to know about it now. The council has done its investigation and discovered that it does not exist anywhere in the world, they only exist in Nigeria.
“The number they claimed to be their registration number does not tally with their name in anyway. Again, it will shock you to know that it is a limited liability organisation, the name is OSHAssociation Limited and no UK attached to it.”
Its investigation, he said, revealed that they go after the high and mighty to deceive them, knowing well that Nigerians like anything foreign.
“But because of the fact that they know we Nigerians like anything that has UK, US attached to it, they affixed it to the name. The height of it is that they do not go for poor men; they go for the high and mighty, and just deceiving people. Some few days ago, we saw them on AIT,” he said.
He, however, said that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the council has critically looked into the meeting during their last stakeholders meeting and will hand the issue over to the law enforcement agencies, since it is a criminal case.
He said, “Definitely you know I dont have my own power; the power I have is what is given to me by the stakeholders of the council, which is every national safety body.
“All these people have looked into the matter in our last meeting and have agreed on what to do to them (OSHAssociation UK) in our next meeting in May. Meanwhile, we will hand over this to the law enforcement agency; it is a criminal case.”
When Safety Record Newspaper approached the President of the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria, ISPON, Dr. Nnamdi Ilodiuba, a NEC member of NISCN, he said that anyone doing business with the OSHAssociation UK, was doing so at their own risk.
Ilodiuba said, “In the usual parlance of Lagosians, they have entered one chance’. Whether it is Navy, Air Force or Nigerian Army for that matter, what they have entered is one chance.
Reiterating that it is only ISPON that has been given the authority to certify safety professionals in the country, Ilodiuba confirmed that OSHAssociation UK operations in Nigeria is fraudulent, and that they do not exist.
“My take on it is that as far as Nigeria is concerned ISPON is the recognised safety body in the nation. The federal government of Nigeria has passed an act establishing the institute and that is the only institute recognised by the federal government of Nigeria, so, any other thing that is coming up as far as I am concerned is emotional; it doesnt follow any way.
“We do not need to do any special investigation to know that they do not exist. They do not exist,” he said.
Disappointed at the calibre of organisations that fall for OSHAssociation UK scam, the Nigerian Navy, being one of them, Ilodiuba said he had expected them to have carry out investigations on OSHAssociation UK before going into training agreement with them.
In his words, “I expect the Navy Navy for that matter to do their investigation before they enter into any training agreement with any organisation. If I were the Chief of Naval Staff, for that matter, I expect him to do a due diligence; I expect him to do a proper investigation before he will lead Nigerian Navy into a fake orgainisation.”
He further declared the certificates awarded by OSHAssociation UK as fake and not tenable anywhere in the country.
“Of course, their certificate is fake and at the appropriate time, they will be thrown away. This is because the certificate will be useless at the time they need it, especially for work and political ambition. By the time they present it and are told that it is fake, they will regret it,” he said.
When Safety Record Newspaper contacted the Nigeria Regional Director, OSHAssociation UK, Engr. Emmanuel Uwalaka, he said that he was not in the position to disclose information on the allegations, and declined to talk.