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Dangote: Host Community Condemns Kogi Govt. Attack On Workers To Seal Off Cement Factory Over Equity Share

Members of host communities of the Dangote Cement Factory, Obajana in Kogi State has condemned Kogi State Government for invading the factory complex and attacking workers.

The Corporate Communication Department of the factory confirmed the attack, alleged that it was at the instance of the Kogi State Government following a resolution by Kogi State House of Assembly to shut down the factory over equity share and request for submission of relevant documents that back up its operations and ownership structure, especially the transition from Kogi Cements to Dangote Cements.

According to reports which claimed anonymity, 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 in the early hours of today.

The House after its investigation into the Cement factory’s operation allegedly revealed that no valid acquisition took place for the company.

KogiOnlineNg also gathered that the Chairman of the company, Aliko Dangote refused to appear before the House upon invitation for questioning over what was paid and document for acquisition.

Meanwhile, 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.

Sources privy to KogiOnlineNg revealed that vigilante’s group were led by the state Director-General of Lands, Nasir Ochi ; Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Bashir Gegu; Special Adviser to the Government on Security Matters, Commander Jerry Omodara (rtd); Chairman of Kabba/Bunnu LGA, Moses Olorunleke; Chairman of Ijumu LGA, and the State ALGON Chairman, Alh. Taofeeq Isa; Senior Special Assistant on Job Creation, Mr. Dele Iselewa and Chairman of Lokoja LGA, Alh. Mohammed Dansabe.

The vigilante group members were said to be wielding arms of different kinds including local and assorted rifles as residents and passersby scamper for safety.

The External Solicitor of Dangote Cement Company, Mr. Leeman Salihu, had submitted some documents, which are a Certificate of Incorporation and an agreement signed in 2002 and 2003 but craved the indulgence of the House to allow other discussions on the issue to be out of the public glare.

He pleaded that the House should allow the company to engage in further conversation with it and the state economic team. The request was, however, declined.

Mr. David Oluruntoba, spokesman for the Oyo Mining host community described the act as primitive and disgraceful, saying the youths of the community can 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.”

Speaking also, the Olu of Akpata, Fredrick Balogun said he was never contacted and as such cannot justify the unwarranted invasion.

“We are royal fathers, and we will continue to seek the path of reconciliation and amicable resolution of any misunderstanding. We don’t have issues with the company,” he charged.

Mathew Ojonuga, a resident said important issue like flooding in the state which has rendered many homeless has not been attended to only to be chasing private companies that have been providing us with means of livelihood.

Said he ”the state governor should face the issue of flooding and let the people live in peace. If there are issues, let him employ dialogue and resolve it rather this kind of use of force.”

At the main gate, disagreement ensued between the thugs and the few policemen guarding the plant, as they shot sporadically into the air to disperse all staff and Communities members. By this time, the vigilantes have succeeded in locking both entrance and exit gates of the company with many workers stranded.

The State’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo when contacted 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 has earlier directed the Commissioner of Police, the State Commandant of Civil Defence Corps, and the Head of Vigilante Group in the State to ensure the resolution was enforced.

The House insisted that Kogi State Cement company could not have been transferred to Obajana Cement Company and then Dangote Cement Company 100 per cent without any consideration.

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