Two arrested, residents protest as ex-minister 'strips hotel workers' over N5k in Warri, Delta (PHOTOS)

Two persons have arrested for allegedly stripping employees of a hotel owned by Delta politician, Kenneth Gbagi.

Spokesman of the state police command, Onome Onovwakpoyeya said that the duo were arrested and brought into custody on Friday.

“They said they stripped some people naked. Two people that were allegedly involved in this act have been arrested. The arrests were made sometime around yesterday,” she told TheCable.

The internet was earlier awash with reports that Gbagi, a former minister of state for education, arrested and sued four of his hotel staff for allegedly stealing the sum of N5,000.

The incident happened on September 18, while the accused employees were identified as Gloria Oguzie, Victor Ephraim, Rosslyn Okiemute and Achibong Precious.

It was alleged that before they were whisked away, the four were stripped naked while they were photographed in the presence of the police after which some of the nude videos surfaced online.
One of the employees who spoke to BBC said it all started after a customer made a transfer of N45,000. She said N20,000 out of the money, which the four shared N5,000 each, was meant as tip to the employees.

She also said she had paid N25,000, which was the cost for a room, into the hotel’s account but Gbagi summoned her and requested that the money be refunded to him.

“He ordered policemen to follow me to my desk and get my phone and ATM card. When we got to his office, he ordered the accountant to withdraw from my account at gunpoint,” the lady claimed.

“He did the same thing for the second person and withdraw N161,000 from her account and N111,000 from the third person’s account. He also collected N2,000 from the fourth employee.

“After that, he ordered us to enter a warehouse opposite his office and asked us to strip naked. He paraded us around the hotel, took us to the restaurant, and told his 15-year-old son to record.”

However, Gbagi has denied the allegations, saying it’s a plan to foil his 2023 governorship ambition.

He described the said employees’ narrative as a sponsored attempt to foil his chances at the state’s governorship election.

“Those people were swimming. We will issue a proper address later. No such thing happened. They’re not even my staff. They’re people looking for work,” he claimed.

“I’m a former chairman of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria. So how would I do such thing as to strip people naked? All that is political nonsense. It’s rivalry ahead of the governorship election.

“They have no employment letters as we didn’t employ them. We know the people using them and we will respond appropriately. I have six daughters. I can do no such thing.”

Meanwhile, some residents of Delta on Saturday protested against Gbagi for brutalising and assaulting his staff.

One of the organisers of the protest, Aduomayebe Adums Aghogho, described the act of the ex-minister as  shameful and barbaric.

“Obviously Gbagi's stock in trade is physical abuse and torture of employees especially women .

“This is the kind of entity who even have the guts to even attempt to run for governorship.

“This is shameful, his barbaric act must be brought to justice,” Aghogho said.

They urged the people and brutalised staff of the ex-minister to join the protest to push for his prosecution.

The four staff, who were assaulted by Gbagi have also threatened legal action against him by demanding N1bn compensation and public apology from the former minister.

They gave him a five-day ultimatum to meet all their demands or face legal action.

In the latest dimension to the issue, a lady, who identified herself as Miss Lucky Obire, said she was in 2019 abducted and tortured by Gbagi in the company of his security guards.

It was gathered that she reported the issue to the conference of actualisation of human rights but later withdrew because she was scared for her life.

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