The management of Dangote Cement Plc has in its reaction to the shutdown of its plant at Obajana by the Kogi State Government, appealed to all its staff and customers to remain calm while the company explores all possible legal steps to address the action by the government which it described as illegal.
The appeal is contained in a statement issued on Friday by the Managing Director of Dangote Cement, Michel Punchercos, in Lagos.
Punchercos maintained that the welfare of the company’s staff remained a key focus as the company worked hard to minimise the further impact on its people and operations.
What the Dangote Cement Managing Director is saying
Punchercos said the company had taken steps to get the hoodlums apprehended by law enforcement agencies and would ensure that full legal action was taken against them.
The statement reads, “The management of Dangote Cement Plc, wishes to inform members of the public, especially its customers and other stakeholders of the recent invasion of its Obajana Cement Plant, Kogi by armed vigilantes on the orders of the state government.
“The vigilantes, led by some officials of the state government were apparently acting on a resolution of the Kogi state House of Assembly on controversial tax claims.
“Claims that the state governor had also contradicted when he said the shutdown was due to an alleged invalid acquisition of the company by Dangote Industries Ltd.
“In the process of forcefully evicting the workers to enforce the shutdown, the vigilantes shot at 27 of our workers and also destroyed some of the company’s property at the plant.
News continues after this ad
“While we reiterate that Obajana Cement plant is 100 percent owned by Dangote Cement PLC, we remain resolute in transforming Africa, while creating sustainable value for our people, communities, investors, and customers.’’
What you should know
Recall that on October 5, 2022, the Kogi State Government shut the entrance and exit gates of Dangote cement factory, Obajana, and prevented staff from resuming work.
The state government has in recent times been involved in a running battle with Dangote Cement over the non-payment of tax to the state Revenue Service and controversy surrounding the state government ownership share in the company which led the state house assembly to invite the company to answer some questions.
The State House of Assembly ordered the closure of the company after its investigation into the Cement factory’s operation allegedly revealed that no valid acquisition took place for the company.
The face-off however degenerated on Wednesday, as a detachment of the state vigilance members and security agents stormed the premises of the cement company reputed to be the largest in Africa and forcefully shut down the company.
Dangote Cement in a statement said that at least 7 staff of its Obajana plant in were shot and several others injured as over 500 armed members of the state’s security outfit, the Vigilantes, stormed the cement factory in the early hours of today (Wednesday) at the instance of the state governor, Yahaya Bello.