Kogi students vow to seek justice to ICJ over Obajana cement plant

*The National Association of Kogi State Students though acknowledges Aliko Dangote’s efforts at  industrialisation, job and wealth creation through various factories, express determination to defend their state government on the ownership of Obajana Cement company up to the International Court of Justice

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the recent face-off between the Kogi State Government and Management of Dangote Cement Plc, located at Obajana, the National Association of Kogi State Students (NAKOSS) has expressed determination to defend the stand of their state government on ownership of the Obajana Cement company up to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in The Hague, Netherlands.

The students noted that they backed the Kogi Government’s demands in a statement Ms. Rachael Balogun, President, NAKOSS National and Chairperson, Council of 36 States’ Students Presidents (CSSP) Sunday, October 9, 2022.

It is recalled the Kogi State Government “Vigilantes” Wednesday, October 5 invaded the Obajana cement plant, shot at staff, and sealed off the company over alleged tax matters,  undue exploitation, and environmental degradation in the state.

From their various tertiary institutions across Nigeria, the students also alleged the Dangote Group, for long, had carried out devastating economic injustice on the people of the Kogi State.

NAKOSS said Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, and State House of Assembly should be commended for insisting on correcting what they described as the age-long economic intimidation and exploitation by the Dangote Group.

The student also accused Dangote company of unfairly exploiting the state for years, with many either dying daily from environmental hazards arising from the cement company’s activities in the area, or at the hands of the company’s drivers that have killed several people across the West African country.

The students further stated the failure of the Management of Dangote Cement Plc to show “evidence of responsible transfer of the shares” of the company belonging to Kogi State is a clear pointer to the fact that the Group purportedly robbed indigenes of the state of their birthrights.

They, therefore, insisted on defending the state government’s position up to the level of the International Court of Justice.

NAKOSS stated: “As indigenes of Kogi State, we affirm that the Government of Kogi State, under Alhaji Yahaya Bello, should be commended for demanding evidence of a strange agreement that delivered our birthrights, 100 percent, on a platter of gold to Dangote Group.

“In spite of the fact that Obajana Cement Factory was established and nurtured by the Kogi State Government until Dangote offered to partner with the state.”

The students also said: “There are documents already in the public domain detailing the economic injustice carried out against the Kogi people in view of an investment that has not for one day benefitted them.”

On MAN’s comment on cement plant’s closure

The Kogi State students noted “we have listened to the misleading argument of the  Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in its press statement of Friday, 7th October, 2022.

“And we are duty bound to inform the public that the argument of this association, which the whole world knows is being controlled by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, is lopsided and lacks merit.”

The students’ body as well contended that this and other such arguments by other associations like MAN are, “to say the least, a slap on the faces of indigenes of our state who have been unfairly exploited for years.

“With many either dying daily from environmental hazards arising from Dangote’s activities in the area or at the hands of its reckless drivers that have killed many across  Nigeria (countless Kogi State students inclusive).”

NAKOSS stated: “All these hazards, yet nothing accrues to the government from a concern it created.

“Let it be clear that we are students of Kogi State learning in higher institutions across Nigeria; but we can safely reflect the minds of even our family members that this struggle is not that of the Governor or the House of Assembly alone.”

According to them, it is a collective struggle and they would seek justice as far as the ICJ.

They also noted: “We acknowledge the efforts of Aliko Dangote to industrialise the country, create jobs and wealth through various factories, but we wish to state unequivocally, that he cannot rewrite history in our own case as we know the story of Obajana from inception.

“This case is simple. Show evidence of consideration or payment, 100 percent, for our Obajana and we will tell the whole world to judge.”

The students added: “It is our strongly held opinion that the fact-finding action of the Kogi State House of Assembly that exposed the inability of the Management of Dangote Cement to show evidence of responsible transfer of the shares of the company belonging to Kogi State is an action in the right direction, especially that the company was given ample opportunity to provide proof.

“While we appeal to both parties to embrace peace and dialogue, we strongly commend the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the State House of Assembly for the diligent efforts that culminated in shutting down the factory.”

Kindly Share This Story