FOUR former employees of Signatious Hotel in Warri who were stripped on the orders of former minister of state for education Kenneth Gbagi have demanded N1bn on compensation and public apology from him.
On September 17, the workers, Victor Ephraim, Gloria Oguzie, Precious Achibong and Roselyn Okiemute Diaghwarhe, were undressed and searched after Mr Gbagi said they were collecting tips from clients. Mr Gbagi forcibly took the victims, one of whom was a married woman to the hotel warehouse in the presence and assistance of the armed mobile policemen and at gunpoint ordered them to pull off their clothes.
In response to the humiliation, the victims’ legal team, led by Kunle Edun of Tri-Lex Partners law firm, wrote to Gbagi, who is also a lawyer, demanding the compensation. His letter was titled Trial by ordeal, torture, stripping naked and bestial conduct of Signatious Hotel and yourself in an organised show of shame and animalism: Notice of intention to seek full legal redress.
Mr Edun stated that his clients were strip-searched because of the tips a guest who lodged at the hotel for four days gave to them upon his departure on August 20, 2020. His letter read in part: “That after the guest’s stay, he gave our clients the sum of N105, 000 as tips for the good time that he had at the hotel, which is not unusual in the hospitality business.
“You told our clients menacingly that they are not entitled to tips, as all tips belong to you. As a matter of fact, you categorically stated that they were not supposed to have monies in their accounts as long as they were working for you.”
His letter added: “On September 17, 2020, with the threatening presence of the armed policemen who willingly did your bidding, you directed your son of 15 years old Master Egba Gbagi, to film and take photos of our clients’ nakedness and then summoned the other staff of the hotel to see the nakedness of our clients.” The lawyers gave the ex-minister five days to among others, pay their clients N1bn as modest damages and compensation for the unmitigated actions of yours.