• en

Youths Chase Workers Away as Kogi Seals Dangote’s Obajana Cement Factory

The company said seven of its staff members were shot.

Kogi State on Wednesday sealed the Dangote Cement Factory, Obajana, following agitation by the indigenes on the questionable circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the company.

The Kogi State House of Assembly ordered the closure of the company after its investigation into the cement factory’s operation allegedly revealed that no valid acquisition took place for the company.

Jubilant youths, who had trooped to the company on hearing the news of the closure, chased workers away but were stopped by Kogi officials, who promptly waded in to avoid damage.

The youths claimed that the company had neglected the community they were making billions from, despite the fact that the indigenes were dying from illness as a result of pollution.

The State House of Assembly alleged that Dangote, upon invitation by the Assembly, requested for more time but did not appear at the House to show any evidence to the contrary.

The Commissioner for Information in the state, Kingsley Fanwo, while responding to journalists’ questions, said, “Pursuant to the Constitutional authorities of the Kogi State House of Assembly, and upon petition by the people of Kogi State, an investigation was carried out on the acquisition of Obajana Cement Company by Dangote Company.

“It was found that no valid acquisition took place, as Dangote could not show evidence of what was paid as consideration for the acquisition.

“The legislators invited the Chairman of the Company, Aliko Dangote, before the House for explanations but he failed to appear before the state Assembly, giving excuses.”

The House of Assembly therefore ordered the closure of the company pending when they are able to present it with credible evidence of a valid acquisition.”

The Director-General, Lands, Kogi State, Nasir Ochi, who was also on ground, added, “In this regard, the security agencies were directed to give effect to the resolution. Similarly, the various organs of government were also informed about this resolution.

“By law, Kogi State House of Assembly can conduct investigation, order anyone to appear before it or produce any document. Failure to obey such summons may lead to the arrest of a Person who failed to appear.

“The government of the state has an obligation to also respect and give effect to such resolution from the House in the interest of peace and security of the State, and to avoid anarchy or breakdown of law and order.

“In this regard, Dangote has an obligation to respect and also give effect to the resolution of the Kogi State House of Assembly to avoid any act of lawlessness.”

Meanwhile, no fewer than seven staff of Dangote Cement, Obajana in Kogi state were shot and several others injured as over 500 armed members of the state’s security outfit, the vigilantes, stormed the cement factory at Obajana.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Corporate Affairs Unit, Dangote Group, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Lokoja yesterday.

The statement said members of the mining and host communities have condemned the Kogi State Government for what they described as extra-judicial and unlawful deployment of the Vigilantes to cause chaos in the Obajana community.

It further stressed that the members of the Kogi State vigilance Service were led by the state Director-General of Lands; Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Commodore Jerry Omodara(rtd), Chairman of Kabba/Bunnu LGA, Chairman of Ijumu LGA and the State ALGON Chairman, Alh. Taofeek; Senior Special Assistant on Job Creation, Mr Dele Iselewa and Chairman of Lokoja LGA, Alh. Mohammed Dansabe.

“As at the time of this report some seven staff of the cement company have ben allegedly shot and were being attended to at the hospitals over the gunshot wounds inflicted on them.

“A source who identified some of the vigilance group members as thugs said most of them were drawn from state vigilance Service and hunters who have been working for the state government,” the statement added.

Speaking Mr. David Oluruntoba, spokesman for the Oyo mining host community described the act as primitive and disgraceful, saying the youths of the community could never be used, and will not take part in such ‘evil practices.”

He said: “They called us to join them. But I told them that the company has not offended us. We just signed a Community Development Agreement (CDA) and the company has been helping us and providing us with jobs. What has the government done for us, nothing. There is no basis to support the government.”

Speaking in the same vein, the spokesman for Iwaa mining community, Rotimi Kekereowo said: “We would never support government on this matter. What have they done for us? We don’t have a single political appointment at the State level. Even when we have problems of electricity and flooding, it was Dangote that was helping us. So, I want to repeat it. We will never support them.”

Ibrahim Oyewale

Follow us on: