A staff member of TOTAL E&P, Oghenero Ozobeme, who was sacked, has cried out over the alleged mistreatment meted out to her by the company after she had brain surgery.
Ozobeme In a Save Our Soul message to SaharaReporters said the medical treatment was funded by her husband.
She said her relationship with TOTAL became frosty after a wrong medical diagnosis.
In 2006, Ozobeme had presented details of extended missed periods and negative pregnancy to the company.
She was sent for a pregnancy test and abdominal scan instead of a hormonal assay test.
The scan however revealed polycystic growths on her ovaries, a condition that was wrongly diagnosed as an isolated ovarian cyst.
Ozobeme required hormonal drug treatment but was negligently put through multiple avoidable surgeries that sliced and diced her ovaries.
Afraid that she could lose her ovaries following the wrong diagnosis, she had to privately seek further medical assistance abroad and a second opinion.
In Canada, she was diagnosed with a pituitary brain tumour, with impending brain surgery.
"Before the brain surgery, I first had to undergo a complex surgery to save and reconstruct at least one of my ovaries. I contacted my employers to seek guidance on my medical absence. I was literally on my death bed at this point,” she said.
“The response I got from TOTAL was shockingly dehumanising.
“I was asked to certify my anticipated recovery date. TOTAL threatened me with termination. I was viciously kicked out of the payroll with no health or sickness benefits. I had to cut short my trip abroad where I was undergoing brain surgery treatment, to return to Nigeria to resume work.”
Speaking further, Ozobeme said her sack letter was dispatched after the management of the oil giant got a subpoena to appear and testify in court.
“The termination letter was delivered to me at home on the 29th of April 2020 during the COVID-19 restrictions.
“It came from the Managing Director. In fact, the line manager had assigned tasks to me on the same day as I worked from home,” she said.
Ozobeme regretted that her case was allegedly mismanaged at St. Nicholas Hospital in Lagos for almost a year “till an MRI scan revealed an associated tumour bleed”.
According to her, before the sacking in 2020, TOTAL orchestrated a smear campaign, intimidation, and desperate cover-up to humiliate and silence her.
It was at that time she sought legal redress, an action that drew the attention of the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
“PENGASSAN tried to dissuade me from filing a suit. When they failed, they joined the smear campaign to vilify me,” Ozobeme said.
Her husband, Charles Ozobeme, said the couple have accepted their fate as his wife would not be able to have a child again.
He said, “We went through the trauma of open-head surgery with huge fatality risks that have left her a victim of permanent hormonal derangement.
“She can no longer drive because she suffers permanent visual impairment. Our greatest pain is that TOTAL, rather than sympathise, engaged in intimidation.”