Seven Dangote Cement Workers Allegedly Shot As Armed Kogi Vigilantes Invade, Seal Factory

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Some workers of Dangote Cement, Obajana in Kogi state were reportedly shot and others injured as armed members of the state’s security outfit stormed the cement factory.

Dangote Cement is owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

The incident, SaharaReporters reportedly happened early on Wednesday.

The state House of Assembly had ordered the closure of the company after its investigation revealed that the cement factory allegedly had no valid acquisition for the company.

Some staff members of the company said about seven persons were shot during the incident.

Meanwhile, members of the mining and host communities have condemned the state government for what they described as the extrajudicial and unlawful deployment of the vigilantes to cause chaos in Obajana community.

A local medium, The Advocate reports that the group was led by the state Director-General of Lands; Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Commodore Jerry Omodara (rtd), Chairman of Kabba/Bunnu LGA, Chairman of Ijumu LGA and the State ALGON Chairman, Alh. Taofeek; Senior Special Assistant on Job Creation, Dele Iselewa and Chairman of Lokoja LGA, Alh. Mohammed Dansabe.

On their arrival at the main gate, a disagreement ensued between the thugs and the few policemen guarding the plant, as they shot sporadically into the air to disperse all staff and community members. “By this time, the vigilantes had succeeded in locking both entrance and exit gates of the company with many workers stranded,” a community source said.

A staff member of the company said the vigilantes wielded arms of different kinds including local and assorted rifles as residents and passersby scampered to safety.

Meanwhile, the seven staff members of the cement company who were allegedly shot were reportedly being attended to at undisclosed hospitals over the gunshot wounds inflicted on them.

A source identified some of the vigilantes as thugs drawn from the state security outfit.

David Oluruntoba, spokesman for the Oyo mining host community described the act as primitive and disgraceful, saying the youths of the community can never be used, and will not take part in such ‘evil practice’.

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.”

Speaking in the same vein, the spokesman for the Iwaa mining community, Rotimi Kekereowo said: “We would never support the 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 with electricity and flooding, it was Dangote that was helping us. So, I want to repeat it, we will never support them.”

Speaking also, the Olu of Akpata, Fredrick Balogun said he was never contacted and as such, cannot justify the unwarranted invasion.

“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 charged.

Mathew Ojonugwa, a resident said important issues like flooding which has rendered many people homeless in the state have not been attended to, “only to be chasing private companies that have been providing us with means of livelihood”.

“The state governor should face the issue of flooding and let the people live in peace. If there are issues, let him employ dialogue and resolve it rather than this kind of use of force,” he said.