Chinese firm accused of firing Nigerian workers for refusing to practice Buddhism

Buddhism Bhuddist Buddha

A Chinese firm, Yiwu Baolian Import and Export Company Limited, located in Abule Osun, Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State has been accused of unlawfully sacking some of its workers who refused to practise Buddhism.

Speaking with Punch, some employees of the company accused chief executive officer of the company, Fanni Lijuan, of compelling members of staff to bow and worship ‘Buddha’, adding that those who refused were being fired.

One of the employees, identified simply as Olaniyi, alleged that the instruction of the CEO was meant to convert them to Buddhism, affirming that two staffers who refused to comply have been sacked.

In his words, “The issue is that Fanni Lijuan brought Buddhism to the office; she puts us in front of a projector that showed us how to practise Buddhism and we were asked to bow to the teacher. They also read some books to us, but before reading, we were asked to bow three times.

“Employees who refused to bow have been sacked; in fact, last week Monday, they sacked two people and the company’s excuse was that it was restructuring and it did not need the affected workers’ services anymore. The workers were sacked because they refused to bow down; and after the company sacked them, the management threatened other employees that if we did not bow to the teacher, we would be similarly sacked.”

Another employee known simply as Peter said, “She (Lijuan) usually says bowing is a sign of respect and the practice is for us to be good persons. But does it mean that the people they employed don’t have respect before now? Is it that adults who have graduated from the university do not have respect? She’s trying to convert us to Buddhism; this is wrong and against our religions and traditions in Nigeria, where freedom of worship is guaranteed.”

One of the sacked employees, who asked to remain anonymous, alleged that Lijuan had introduced Buddhism since 2017.

“Our madam started this Buddhism practice in the office last year; she started by giving us lectures and asked us to be taking notes. We also listened to voices we didn’t know. Recently, she got to the stage of asking us to bow, but I refused. So, she gave me one month’s salary and sacked me and some others,” the former employee explained.

When contacted by Punch, Lijuan who denied the allegation said, she only wanted the employees to bow as a sign of humility, because they were arrogant.

She said she didn’t sack any staff in the name of religion, adding that she had fostered harmony among different religions.

“I never introduced Buddhism; they are just lying. What I observed is that some of the workers are very arrogant; even their body language shows that they are not respectful. So, we are learning some ways of living; humility and respect; and what I want them to do is a sign of humility – bow your body and stop being arrogant,” she said.