Threaten legal action against coy
By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA Civil Society Originations, CSOs, has called on Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to hold the management of Chinese-firm, BN Ceramics accountable for alleged dehumanization and maltreatment of workers in the state.
Representatives of the CSOs, who gathered under the umbrella body of Pan African United Development Network, PAUDN, who made the call while speaking at an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja, vowed not to allow their youths to be taken into slavery by any company.
They said the management of BN Ceramics located at Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State, has become notorious for subjecting its Nigerian workers, who are majorly youths to ill-treatment and abuse.
President Pan African United Youths Development Network, Amb. Habib Mohammed, in his address, asked Gov. Bello to sanction the company for violating factory rules in relation to health, safety, hazard and precautionary measures.
Amb. Mohammed who was visibly angry by absence of the Managing Director of the firm at meeting convened in the instance of the State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said the Governor has the powers to revoke Certificate of Occupancy granted the company to operate in the state.
He said the BN Ceramics was absent, disregarding the invitation of the governor and instead sent a few staff of the organization to defend the company’s ill-affairs at the meeting.
He recalled that “In January, the Pan African United Development Network discovered varying degrees of dehumanization being meted out to Nigerian workers of BN ceramics.
“Victims within the organization have stepped forward to lay complaints but were shut out by management of the organization and left to fend themselves even in dangerous health situations.
“Serving as intermediary the Pan African United Development Network engaged the company at many levels, including through the Public Complaints Commission, DSS, High Courts and the Nigerian Police but very little headway was made, with the company (BN Ceramics) accusing the youth network of extortion.
“The government of Kogi state, under the leadership of His Excellency Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello intervened in the matter to push for reconciliation and addressing of the issues.
“The governor called for a meeting between both parties in the interest of justice and promoting businesses in the state. During the meeting, victims were given the opportunity to voice out their sore experiences.
“Issues of death of employees, rape of female workers and maltreatment of staff were brought to fore but the representatives of BN Ceramics denied allegations despite irrefutable evidence presented to the Chief of Staff Pharm. Jamiu Abdulkareem Asuku, who represented the governor at the meeting.
“In closing, it was noted that the managing director of the BN Ceramics was absent, disregarding the invitation of the governor and instead sent a few staff of the organization to defend the company’s ill-affairs.
“Pharm. Asuku called out the contumacy, directing that the meeting be postponed and both parties reconvened when the managing director who had been reported to be abroad is back from his trip.
The CSOs, which threatened to drag the company to court if further negotiations expected to be convened soon fails, however, called on the youths whose fundamental rights are trampled upon in their place of work.
He said, “We honestly cannot afford to fail the youth. We want to tell the young people in Kogi state and across Nigeria that right now is the time to show solidarity and stand with them.
“We cannot afford to fail as young leaders. We must continue to broker peace and ensuring more dialogue. Our National Assembly has failed in this case. Our regulatory agencies have failed.
“And I’m using this opportunity to speak to Nigerian youth and say that if your rights have been trampled upon, and your dignity have been taken away from you, please send us a petition, I will take up your case, we want to ensure that as much as foreigners and locals can run businesses in Nigeria, they most run them under the ambience of the law of the land.
Under the Land Use Act, His Excellency, the Kogi state governor can revoke the license of the land from the company should the company fail to appear.
“Should the leadership of the company failed to appear in the next dialog meeting His Excellency, the governor of Kogi State should seize the land from the company and force them to do the right thing.
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