Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group

Dangote alleges Kogi Government’s vigilantes invade Obajana Cement Plant, shoot staff

*Dangote Group says members of the mining and host communities have condemned the action of the Kogi State Government of Nigeria for what they described as ‘extra-judicial and unlawful deployment’ of the vigilantes Wednesday, October 5, to cause chaos in the Obajana host community of its cement plant

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Management of Dangote Group have said about seven staff of Dangote Cement Plc, 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 Wednesday, October 5, 2022.

ConsumerConnect reports the Group, in a statement issued Wednesday, alleged that the invasion of the cement plant was at the instance of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

It is recalled that earlier Wednesday, ConsumerConnect had reported that the Kogi State Government ordered the shutdown of the Dangote Cement Plant, Obajana, over certain contending issues with the state’s authorities.

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

“The vigilante’s group were led by the state Director-General of Lands; Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) 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.

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

The company further stated some seven staff of the cement  multinational were being attended to at the hospitals over the gunshot wounds inflicted on them.

It said: “A source who identified some of the vigilante men as thugs said most of them were drawn from state vigilante and hunters who have been working for the state government.

“Mr. David Oloruntoba, 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’.”

Oloruntoba 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 on the incident at the plant, Rotimi Kekereowo, Spokesman for Iwaa mining community, 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.”

In his comment, Fredrick Balogun, the Olu of Akpata, also said that he was never contacted, and as such could not justify the unwarranted invasion.

The traditional ruler stated: “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.”

Matthew Ojonuga, a resident of the area, said an important issue like flooding affecting the people in the state, which has rendered many homeless has not been attended to, only for the government 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.”

The company as well alleged that at the main gate of the cement plant, disagreement ensued between the thugs and the few Policemen guarding the plant, as they shot sporadically into the air to disperse all staff and members of the community.

“By this time, the vigilantes have succeeded in locking both entrance and exit gates of the company with many workers stranded” the factory, added the statement.

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