A controversy has erupted in Warri, Delta state over allegations that a Hotel Proprietor(names withheld) ordered a married woman and others to be stripped naked while his teenage son, reportedly filmed the scene.
The dehumanizing treatment meted out to the woman, Mrs. Precious Achibong drew the ire of market women who with placards, protested through major streets and markets in the town at the weekend.
Trouble started when on the 30th of August, 2020 while in the ordinary course of their duties at Signatious Hotel a guest paid for a room rated N25, 000 per night for four days, by transferring the sum to a staff’s bank account.
The Hotel acknowledged receipt of the four nights the guest stayed and the guest thereafter gave the staff the sum of N105, 000.00 (One Hundred and Five Thousand Naira) as tips for the good time he had at the hotel.
Soon after the married woman assigned to the Food and Beverage Department ran into trouble as she was accused of stealing N1, 000.00 in her sales for the 18th of September, 2020. The hotel demanded that she return the money which she promised to do.
But when the proprietor got wind of what happened he reportedly summoned the staff including Mrs Archibong to his office and in the presence of armed mobile policemen demanded that they return the tips to him.
He was said to have told them that they are not entitled to tips, and that they were not supposed to even have monies in their private bank ccounts as long as they were working for him.
Not done the proprietor on 17th of September, 2020 forcibly took the woman and other staff to the Hotel’s Restaurant and still in the presence of the policemen and at gunpoint ordered them to strip their clothes.
Though they pleaded profusely for mercy with Mrs. Achibong, kneeling and crying for mercy because she is a married woman, the proprietor allegedly directed his son of 15 years (names withheld) to film and take photos of their nakedness.
At gunpoint, it was gathered that the Hotel proprietor forcibly collected their ATM cards and used the Hotel’s Point On Sale (POS) device to transfer into the hotel account monies in the staff bank accounts to the tune of N111, 000.00/Victor Ephraim N176, 500.00/Gloria Oguzie. N5,000/Okiemute Roseline Diaghwarhe, and
Not done the hotel proprietor reportedly called the DPO of the Ebrumede Police Station, Uvwie Local Government to send officers to the hotel to arrest some “thieves", who were detained for four days on frivolous charges of stealing.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the Hotel in question is owned by Chief Kenneth Gbagi. This became public at a press conference he addressed weekend in Warri.
He said, "These lies are being peddled by those who for one reason or the other feel threatened by my ambition to contest the governorship election in Delta State come 2023.
On the allegation of molestation of staff employed with Signatious Hotel, one of the businesses I own, let me categorically state that at no time did I or any person related to me strip naked the persons mentioned in the malicious allegation. As a father of six daughters who has tremendous respect for the women, I consider those behind such accusation and blackmail the most evil minds and they must be identified and brought to face the full wrath of the law".
According to Chief Gbagi, "Permit me to clarify that I do not get involved in the day-to-day running of my business empire, since this is a responsibility i have entrusted to a competent management team, and I repose the highest confidence in them.
As such, to the best of my knowledge and based on available information at my disposal as provided by the management of the hotel, the persons mentioned in the molestation allegation are not staff employed with any of my businesses nationwide. Any attempt to state otherwise must be backed by proof of employment which I dare those concerned to provide".