plant manager at SOCOL Nigeriq

May 1980


 

 

 


als lid van de examencommissie bij de opleiding toerenkraanmachinist









   

In the meantime, I was asked to be part of an examination board of the Foundation for Vocational Training in Construction, part of the Foundation for The Social Fund for Construction.


After several times as secretary I was asked by a former president to accept a position as 'Plant Manager' at former S.A. Socol N.Vwith the seat in Belgium but as Socol (Nig.) in Nigeria.
I had ears for this because we desperately needed the money I got a salary of Dfl. 3500.00 net per month in the Netherlands pays
out. My job was to reorganize and rebuild a central plant (equipment yard) in Potiskum in Bauchi State Nigeria.
Van K., this company was in the Netherlands the importer/representative of P. construction cranes, the Family of K. had with Civilco e.g. SOCOL Nig.
Ltd. bought from the bankrupt Belgian estate of N.V,-SOCOL S.A.
Employment Agreement with C. the

Dutch representative of SOCOL-Nigeria Ltd. I have previously gone with Dhr. van M. and Mr.M. (director/owner of Printing M. from 's-Hertogenbosch) to the shipyard of SOCOLcol in Belgium to advise what they would take over from the bankrupt estate in Belgium to take with them to Nigeria, after a while walking around the yard with the administrator they, Mr.M. and M., they decided to have various goods w.o. 6 lathes, 12 level instruments, a dam wall profile vibrating block, then I asked the administrator if I could speak to them alone, he obviously agreed and left for another room , I asked Mr. van M.

and M.: regarding the lathes, these are so old and worn that one lathe had to keep the other to the turn, otherwise there is enough work for 6 lathes? As far as the 12 level instruments are concerned, as far as I know it is quite difficult to look purely through a lens system, further who or how do we calibrate these instruments in Nigeria, this will have to happen after such a trip, let's buy a Laser Water Pass equipment for that money (these were then, in 1980, incredibly expensive.


further more with regard to that vibrating block, where is the required aggregate that drives this vibration block and do we need a dam wall profile in Nigeria?


then everything will have to be packed and transported to Nigeria and transported from the port to Potiskum, conclusion: nothing was bought, I would not have gone with them for nothing.
Flown by plane from Brussels to Nigeria, in the city of Kano, from there to Bauchi-State by car, and arrived on site and housed in a Porta Cabin,

 










 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I once went with the company doctor, to a Nigerian family, the husband of these "women" works at this doctor, so we could come and see their community:






















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arriving at the Site with other people, I met japie G. a colleague of Van M. who worked together at van K., van M. as a manager and Japie G. as chief mechanic, with Japie I later had a big conflict following him wrong approach to a staff member, i.e. Sunday, he was chief

storekeeper, At one point I was standing the guest-house (in this we did dinner and went to have a drink in the evening, and stood talking to a Belgian boy, who did the administration, and then I heard very nice singing by, mainly, children in the background, I said to him, I'm going to take a look, he said not now because it was payday for them, I said to me anyway, he said, if you're not afraid I'm going too,
 

 

 

I sat in my office, a performer, an Irishman, and a Nigerian arguing inside, the Nigerian was a driver of a supply company who had brought bitumen, I asked what was going on, now that driver had thrown the 40 tons of bitumen in a heap, a valve of the hydraulic system was broken and he didn't cut the 40 ton bitumen, to the e.g. 40 meters, now that performer did not sign the delivery receipt, I said listen once I am from the department material and not of the execution, and there belongs to this problem according to me, so that was not the so the site manager had stated that I had to solve this??!?, the driver suggested if I can't issue a signed delivery slip on the case I'm going to jail , because then I may have stolen it, since I didn't manage the English language as well, I wanted to keep it as short as possible, in terms of language, so I asked that performer, I just need to hear yes or no, have you had those bitumen, he said yes, but.... I said, just stop yes or no, then he said yes, I ok, but you don't agree in terms of, he's right, then I said, sign for receipt you put it not agreed" (not agreed-in delivery), so to speak, when the driver received the signed receipt he crawled on his knees towards me, kissed my feet and said, thanks, your save my family, (thanks, you saved my family) when I get back i think (so now too).
At some point Victor comes in, this guy worked at the fuel
station. she worked there with 7 people, the whole group consisted of +/- 60 people, Nigerians, Belgians, Irish, Portuguese and Scots, Victor said to me master I'm so sick, (I'm so sick) I looked closely at him and saw that he was not sick and said, I had closed the fuel station on weekends, because

there was no work on the weekend, after much grumbling I decided that Victor could work at the fuel station on weekends, he lived on the Site in a small hut of corrugated iron, after a certain time Victor came back into my office and told me that he was so sick and had his heart on his heart, I shoot again, Victor shoots on going to work , one Saturday morning I was with the administrator in his office a Nigerian came up to me and said to me, we have a football game this afternoon, from SOCOL, against another football club and our best player has to work, I shot very much in my laughter, they looked at me surprised, because I thought, my heart patient, Victor, is SOCOL's best football player, I said wait a minute I'm so back, I go to the fuel station, but no Victor to see, I go to his "cabin" the door was open and the middle door of the living room to the Bedroom was also open, I thought I was waiting a moment maybe he walks from one room to the other through the doorway, and yes that happened, he saw me and became for a few seconds a "white man" pulled his blood out of his face briefly away I said, Victor come along and we walked to the office, I asked that Nigerian is he your best football player? the man agreed and I said o.k. he's free and allowed to play football, at the same time the chef lassers/Trillers, a Portuguese, also worked, and I asked him if he would take the welders back to their village if I could ride with them, that happened to be the same village that SOCOL was playing football against, he said yes of course, I was in charge of the equipment service and I had to reorganize this equipment service, so when we got to that village, those inhabitants made me a hedge and bowed down in respect for me, I got back to it, when I got to the football field I asked how the score was, 1-0 for SOCOL and to which side SOCOL had to play , to link, I went behind the goal, and to my surprise , "my heart patient" was also an attacker, but he didn't cross the center line when he saw me, so it stayed 1-0, when the game was over I called Victor and told him he was a good player, but if he wanted to play with me again he was fired, voilà our heart patient was healed.
==??!??=

When I drove back to the site, I made the stupid mistake of driving myself, so don't let a Nigerian driver drive me, I was told NEVER drive yourself, if you get an accident and you drive a Nigerian you're screwed, But yes cocky, didn't I, when I drove off I hit the wrong street and at the end there were 3 or 4 men, employees of SOCOL, and on the Peugeot 504 I was driving in was standing with big letters this name, they were choking the road and going to shake the car, I laughed but wasn't happy, I had the window on my side open, and I thought, "don't close" because then they think you're scared
??!!! , a very large Nigerian came running up who sent the men away and gestured with a slight bow that I could drive through, Pfff



































  

 

But I was mentally burned out plus only further I suffer from homesickness so I was sent back to the Netherlands on doctor's advice. The only problem was that I didn't get ww benefit because I had just worked 2 days enough to fall back into a WW benefit, people didn't trust it.











 


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Copying, dissemination and any other use of these materials is not permitted without the written consent of J. Ger van den Hurk, except and only to the extent otherwise provided in arrangements of mandatory law (such as right of quotation), unless otherwise specified in specific
materials.
at the express request of my wife and son, no photos and dates were posted in my autobiography.