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‘We are not benefitting’ — Kogi residents protest over Obajana ownership tussle

‘We are not benefitting’ — Kogi residents protest over Obajana ownership tussle
October 11
21:58 2022

Residents of Kogi have staged a protest over the ownership tussle involving the state government and the Dangote Group over the Obajana cement plant.

On October 6, TheCable reported that the Kogi state government commenced the process of recovering the cement plant in Obajana from Dangote Industries Limited, which led to the subsequent sealing off of the company.

The sealing of the company followed the report of the Kogi state panel set up to look into the acquisition of the cement plant.

According to the panel, the purported transfer of the facility to Dangote Cement was not “proper”.

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Subsequently, on Monday, Aliko Dangote, president of the Dangote Group, attended a meeting involving Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, at the presidential villa to resolve the issue.

Residents of the state, on Tuesday, took to the streets in protest, claiming that they have not benefitted from the cement plant.

The protesters, who also included a significant number of youths, marched across roads in the state, while holding up placards with inscriptions such as: ‘No More Slavery in Kogi’, ‘We Will Not Be Intimidated’, and ‘Return our Cement Plant’.

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“We, the youths of Obajana are angry and we are pleading with the state government to come to our aid and rescue us,” one of the youths said.

“Our environment has been spoiled; our roads have been spoiled by Dangote trucks. Our prayer is that the governor should speak with Dangote and negotiate with him to bring back our Obajana plant.

“We have graduates and youths who have nothing to do. We are pleading that the state should revive Obajana. We don’t want Dangote anymore.”

Meanwhile, in a statement, Anthony Chiejina, group head, branding and communication, Dangote Industries Ltd., said communities in Kogi have benefitted from the company’s corporate social responsibility (CRS) initiatives.

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“The contributions of the company to the development of the state are too numerous to list; ranging from job opportunities to support in health sector, road infrastructure, education, financial empowerment, and rural electrification,” the statement reads.

“It will be recalled that during the 2012 flood, the company had contributed N430 million.

“These interventions have really supported both the state and the Federal Government in the areas of health and road infrastructure.

“The Group is also building a multi-million naira skill acquisition centre in Lokoja, which when completed, would provide the requisite skills and thus empower the youth to be more productive and contribute to the economic development of the state.”

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He added that communities that have also benefitted from projects include Obajana, Apata, Iwaa and Oyo, while other areas of intervention include the construction of boreholes, road projects, scholarship grants, power supply, and employment opportunities.

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