Kogi State Government on Wednesday invaded Dangote’s cement plant in Obajana, leaving at least seven workers shot by the state’s security operatives during a face-off.
According to a statement by the general manager, corporate communications at the Dangote Group, Sunday Esan, the vigilante group was led by the state firector-general of lands, commissioner for solid minerals, and senior special assistant to the governor on security, Commodore Jerry Omodara (rtd).
Others were chairman of Kabba/Bunnu LGA, chairman of Ijumu LGA and the state ALGON chairman, Alhaji Taofeek; senior special assistant on job creation, Dele Iselewa, and chairman of Lokoja LGA, Mohammed Dansabe.
Reacting, the state government said the Kogi State House of Assembly ordered the company’s closure after its investigation into the cement factory’s operation allegedly revealed that no valid acquisition took place for the company.
The Assembly alleged that Dangote, upon invitation by the state lawmakers, requested more time but did not appear to show any evidence to the contrary.
Kogi commissioner for information, Kingsley Fanwo, while addressing journalists, said that 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 Group.
“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 company’s closure pending when they present it with credible evidence of a valid acquisition,” said Fanwo.
Meanwhile, members of the mining and host communities have condemned the Kogi State Government for what they described as an extrajudicial and unlawful deployment of the vigilantes to cause chaos in the Obajana community.
Spokesman for the Oyo Mining host community, David Oluruntoba, said the company had established a cordial relationship with the local community.
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.”