By Franklin ALLI
DIRECTORS of African Petroleum PLC, yesterday, narrated how they were trapped in an elevator at the companyâ€™s Head Office (AP House) Broad Street, Lagos, for â€œ 1.20 minutes,â€ before they were rescued
Itâ€™ll be recalled that the companyâ€™s Acting Managing Director Mr. Mike Ahme, and six others were recently trapped in the lift no sooner they arrived for a Board Meeting that fateful day.
â€œ Being stuck for 1.20 min was not a palatable experience, it was terrible and traumatic, saidÂ Christopher Adeyemi, one of the Directors.
According to him, on July 5, 2010, they arrived AP House for a Board Meeting in which Management was to take a crucial decision (undisclosed).
â€œIt was a crucial Board Meeting.Â No sooner we were ushered into the lift than the door shut . Even before we press any button it started going up for about five minutes and then got stuck.Â When it was not opening, we press the Alarm button, but response came very slowly.
â€œWe kept on shouting and shouting for help until someone called the Fire Service.
The light and air-condition suddenly went off and it was very difficult to breathe. We saw our lives ebbing away. The whole episode took 1.20 min.Â Â I felt disappointed that what happened was minimised and rubbished in the media,â€ he maintained.
â€œThereâ€™s no any company in the world where such incidence has happened to Board of Directors,â€ he said.
â€œItâ€™s callous for someone to come out and said that the whole operation lasted for ten minute,â€ said Chief Security Officer, Zenon Oil, Balla Bello, who was also a victim.
Bello, said that the collapsed lift couldnâ€™t have been as a result of power outage as the whole building was on generator.Â â€œIt was a local welder (named withheld), who came and made a hole on the door before we were rescued,â€ he said.
Corroborating, Segun Senbanjo, also a Director, pointed out that there had been no such occurrence until this crises, stressing that the elevator was working perfectly well before the Board Meeting even before the arrival of the companyâ€™s Chairman.
â€œIt was only when the Managing Director and his entourage entered that it got stuck,â€ said Mike Ahme.
He disclosed that the Police is investigating the matter, adding â€œWeâ€™ll talk when we know what the result of the investigation is .Â Because we are a quoted and credible company we â€˜re waiting for the Police to conclude their investigation before making a statement on the issue.
Vanguard gathered that no staff has been sacked in the aftermath of the incidence.
It was further learnt that trouble started following the suspension of the Executive Director Finance
over an allegation of a missing N32 billion which Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now investigating.