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Dangote: Shareholders knock Kogi, group alleges exploitation

The issue between Dangote Cement Plc and the Kogi State government has taken a new turn as a result of the involvement of some organised private sector interest organisations and students of Kogi descent.

While the interest groups have criticised the state government for using coercive measures to force the corporation to submit, the students have applauded the state government’s actions and promised to defend the claim of ownership of the cement plant even in the highest courts of the land.Infomation Guide Nigeria

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In retaliation, a number of shareholder associations in Nigeria as well as other interest groups have denounced the Kogi State Government for intimidating Dangote Cement Plc over its ownership of the Obajana Cement Plant.

The shareholders pleaded with the Federal Government to act quickly and pressure the Kogi State government to cease harassing investors in order to prevent a total loss of investor trust in the state.
Speaking about the development, Dr. Umar Faruk, president of the Association for the Advancement of Shareholders Rights, criticised the state government for closing a business that offered employment opportunities and economic empowerment for the local Obajana community.

He said, “Why should the governor of a state in Nigeria, mobilise vigilantes to seal a publicly quoted company? The same Governor did exactly the same thing to First Bank, making the bank close some of its branches in the state. Is that not executive rascality, using the state assembly to commit such an atrocious act?”

In a similar vein, Sir Sunny Nwosu, the founder of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria and President of Boys Brigade Nigeria, stated that the state government should have employed diplomacy and due process by using judicial means to hold the company accountable rather than turning to extra-judicial means.

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The Kogi State administration was also criticised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry for recently invading the Dangote cement facility in Obajana.

The news of the attack on the Dangote Cement Plant was characterised as shocking and disheartening by LCCI in a statement signed by its Director-General, Dr. Chinyere Almona.

The attack, in the opinion of West Africa’s first Chamber of Commerce, was a result of the nation’s subpar management of investment protection issues.

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It stated that using force was not the only acceptable option to resolve legal and regulatory issues affecting businesses in Nigeria.

The statement read in part, “The invasion of the Dangote Cement Factory by youths that led to the shooting of factory workers is unfortunate, ill-construed, and avoidable. We advocate a win-win situation for businesses and the government. We will therefore call on all parties to exercise caution and be protective of jobs, assets of production, and government revenues from corporate organizations like Dangote.

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture said it was crucial to recognise that Obajana was a sizable manufacturing facility that supplied the economy with crucial domestic inputs (cement) and directly and indirectly employed hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.

Under the leadership of the National Association of Kogi State Students, students have, nevertheless, put their complete support to the state administration.

The students claimed that the Dangote Group had long perpetrated terrible economic injustice on the state’s population in a statement that was signed by Rachael Mojirola Balogun, Chairperson of the Council of 36 States Student Presidents (CSSP), and National President of NAKOSS National.

The state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and the 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,” according to natives of the state drawn from tertiary institutions of learning across the nation.

They claimed that Dangote had unfairly exploited the state for years, causing everyday deaths either due to environmental concerns brought on by the company’s operations there or at the hands of its negligent drivers.

The statement read in part, 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 birth rights, 100 percent, on a platter of gold to Dangote Group, despite the fact that Obajana Cement Factory was established and nurtured by the Kogi State Government until Dangote offered to partner with the state.

“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.”Jamb Result 

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing. Whatapp: 08088735884

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