The Kogi government and Dangote Cement are currently at loggerheads following a move by the state to seal off the company’s factory amid an “ownership tussle”.
The Kogi house of assembly had ordered the sealing of the factory following agitations by indigenes who raised questions about the ownership of the company.
An investigation into the company’s operations allegedly revealed that there was nothing much to show on the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the company.
Youths were also said to have claimed that the company was constituting a source of pollution for the environment, while the host community had been neglected.
Dangote Cement was said to have been invited to appear before the assembly, but its officials did not appear before the house despite requesting for more time.
Amid moves by the state to seal off the factory on Wednesday, youths were said to have surrounded the area, while there was a shooting incident.
In a statement, Kingsley Fanwo, Kogi commissioner for information, said a yet-to-be-identified youth was shot and is currently receiving treatment at a government hospital in Lokoja.
“The Kogi State Government wishes to express total support for the decision of the Kogi State House of Assembly to seal the Dangote Cement Company over ownership tussle between the State Government and the Dangote Group,” the statement reads.
“The successful sealing of the factory is a welcome development to enable all parties advance providing answers to the various unanswered questions surrounding the ownership of the Company.
“Today’s operation at Obajana has further opened the eyes of the State Government to the criminal hub that Obajana is fast becoming, with the level of arms and ammunition deployed by hoodlums hired to stop the sealing of the company as directed by the State House of Assembly.
“We thank the enthusiastic young men and women who came out in their hundreds to support the sealing of the Company as well as our gallant security agents for repelling the criminals that were hired to stop the implementation of a lawful resolution by the law-making body of the state.
“It is unfortunate that one of the youths supporting the sealing of the company in solidarity with the House of Assembly resolution was shot by the hired gunmen of the capitalist and he is currently receiving treatment at a government hospital in Lokoja.
“It is our responsibility as a government to protect the interest of our people and we will stop at nothing to ensure Kogi’s resources work for Kogi people.
“The Executive Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Alh Yahaya Bello, has directed security agencies to fish out those who shot the innocent youth at Obajana and bring them to justice.”
However, sources said seven workers at the cement factory were shot during a clash involving youths and vigilantes.
On his part, David Oluruntoba, spokesman for the Oyo mining host community, described the shooting incident at the factory as primitive, adding that youths should not be involved in “evil practices”.
“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,” he said.
Also speaking, Rotimi Kekereowo, spokesman for Iwaa mining community, said the community would not support the government’s action.
“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 had problems of electricity and flooding, it was Dangote that was helping us. So, I want to repeat it. We will never support them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fredrick Balogun, the Olu of Akpata, said he was not aware of the decision to seal the factory beforehand.
“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 said.