Lebanese Couple offers N400K to Nigerian Woman they Tortured

The Lebanese couple that tortured a Nigeri­an woman has offered her N400, 000 in a bid to settle the matter amicably, Sunday Sun has gathered.
The woman at the centre of the al­leged torture and who is an indigene
of Delta State, Mrs. Grace Okpara, revealed in an interview with Sun­day
Sunthat the couple, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Yazbeck offered her the said
amount during a meeting with the Divisional Police Officer of the Ibafo
Police Station, where the mat­ter was incidented.
Okpara had alleged that during a confrontation at the company,
Hala and her husband, Joseph Yazbeck, beat her thoroughly. She said
that they held her hair and dragged her all the way from an office
to a work­shop. She further alleged that the couple boasted that they
would kill her and nothing would happen. On account of the torture meted
out to her by the couple, Okpara ended up in hospital for days.
As Sunday Sun gathered, Hala and her husband both work as man­agement executives of Buildwell Plant and Equipment Industry Limit­ed, a logistics company located along the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.

Following the incident, the police had invited the Yazbecks, but they
failed to honour the invitation until after four days. When they
eventu­ally visited the police station, Hala insisted that it was even
Okpara that actually beat her, and claimed that she never laid a finger
on her.

After much argument, the couple
agreed to settle with the aggrieved worker and offered her the sum of
N400,000, which she refused, choos­ing instead to have the matter
charged to court as soon as the striking judi­ciary workers resumed
duties.

With pains, Okpara recalled that prior to the torture incident, Hala had
been a thorn in her flesh right from when she began working with the
company four years ago. She said that torturing workers was a common
occurrence in the company.

She blamed the present state of affairs on the high unemployment rate in
the country, which prevents maltreated Nigerians workers from speaking
out against the injustices perpetrated on them mostly by Leb­anese-owned
companies.

 According to her, Lebanese em­ployers often brag about how they have
bought the Nigerian system, claiming that even if they kill a Nige­rian
working in their companies, the government would not do anything against
them.

“So that fateful day,” Okpara recalled, “I was coming from one direction
of the workshop when I saw her at the other end. I saw her in front of
our store, she was shout­ing on somebody. I decided to avoid her. I
turned to enter one office. That is how I do anytime I see her. Even
when I have not seen her, people will call me ‘Grace oh!, your madam is
coming.’ And I will start hiding. In that kind of job, there is no freedom.

“I didn’t know that she had already seen me. So, she started shouting at
me, saying that she had told me not to go there again. I stopped and
told her that I wanted to take something from the office. When I tried
to enter the office, I didn’t know that she ran after me. The next
thing, she grabbed my dress. Then she slapped me and kicked me with her
leg.

“I was like ‘Madam, what is all this now.’ People were trying to hold her. She said I should go and collect my pay off,
that I had been sacked. I said ‘fine, it is better. Give me the pay off
and let me walk out of this place instead of being treated like a
slave.

“Immediately I said that, the hus­band hit me from the back because he
was standing there too. He queried why I should talk to his wife like
that. I said, ‘Ah ah, Mr. Joe, why are you beating me?’ When the woman
saw her husband’s reaction, she resumed beating me. The man then pulled
my hair and together they dragged me out of the office to the workshop. I was trying to fight
back, but nobody was there to rescue me. Everybody was there watching;
they couldn’t do anything because they didn’t want to lose their jobs

“Eventually, one guy came and gave the man an elbow. He was like ‘this
one is too much, do you people want to kill her?’ When they left me, I
was still trying to fight back because I didn’t understand why they
should treat me like that. That was when the woman took her phone and
started recording me; that she would use that as evidence. I picked up
something and said I would break the phone, because how can you be
beating me and also recording it at the same time?

“The workers were not happy at all. It was as if there was rioting in
the company that day. They didn’t even know how I managed to escape from
the company
because, maybe they would not have allowed me to go out. When I left, I
went to the Ibafo Police Station and reported to the police, because
the woman’s husband had said that he was going to kill me and nothing
will happen. After I gave the police my statement, they took me to a
hospital where I was admitted for days.”

 When Sunday Sun contact­ed Mrs. Hala Yazbeck via her mobile phone, she
answered, but became si­lent when the matter was mentioned. After about
half a minute, a male voice came on and asked, “Yes, how may I help
you?”

After the matter was introduced, his reply was:

“Now listen… there is no need for that. It is just a dispute between two
colleagues and I think that it should have been sorted out by now. We
need to avoid these things, please, I beg you.”Have you settled the matter, our reporter asked him?” His answer
was sharp. “Please, there is no need for this. It is a dispute between
col­leagues and my legal department is working on it. Thank you very
much, madam,” and the line went off.

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