From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
A group of youths allegedly invaded the premises of Ajaokuta-based BN Ceramics Industry Nig Ltd, destroying property worth millions of naira even as they allegedly demanded to be paid the sum of ₦10 million on the spot.
The youths, said to be angered by the treatment of workers and the host community by the Chinese-owned company, were said to have forcefully gained entry into its premises located along Ajaokuta-Ayingba road and went away with two million naira cash.
Addressing reporters over the weekend, the Human Resources Manager of the company, Mr Saliu Mohamed, stressed that the company which has provided hundreds of jobs to youths and women in the area will never do anything to compromise its goal to give top priority to the welfare of every cadre of its workforce.
The company also reiterated its vow to always accord due respect and provide succour to its host communities through its robust social responsibility platform by providing employment opportunities and social amenities to members of the host community.
While conducting newsmen round the company shortly after the youths allegedly invaded the company premises and destroyed property worth millions of naira, the Human Resources Manager said the management was shocked over the invasion.
According to him, the youths under the auspices of Pan African Youths Development Network forcefully invaded into the premises of the company accompanied by some armed policemen and soldiers and threatened to deal with the management of the company unless ₦10 million was given to them.
He said the youth group who also illegally demanded a bus and certain amount to be paid to them every month also incited the workers against the management of the company which led to the shut down of the company
Mohamed stressed that the youth group capitalised on the accident that occurred outside the premises of the company involving a Volkswagen saloon Golf car and the company bus where two of its staff lost their lives with the allegations that the management was not responsive enough.
The Human resources Manager who was flanked by the Marketing development manager, Mr James Bright and the sales manager, Mr Mike Tamir, said there was practically nothing the company could have done to stop an accident that occurred several kilometres away from the company premises involving another careless commuter saying it was highly regrettable that company had to lose two of its hard-working female staff in the accident
He said immediately the news of the accident came to them, they immediately despatched some people to the scene led by the company safety officers who rescued the victims and immediately took those injured to the hospital but said because of the impact of the accident two female staff of the company namely Faliar Ozigi and Halimat Jibo died on the spot of the accident
The Human Resources Manager said as he and other management staff of the company were preparing to go to the scene of the accident so as to sympathise and give the necessary support, some youths in the area threatened to lynch them if they ventured moved out of the company premises, a situation which he said scared them.
He said the management still swiftly provided the necessary logistics to move the injured to the hospital and paid for all expenses incurred while those with complications have been moved to a higher hospital.
While saying the company has prepared a comprehensive package for the families of the two staff who lost their lives, he said more incentives will also be made available to the injured and vowed that the company will always be responsive to the plights and welfare at all times.
The management of the company accompanied by security personnel led by the Ajaokuta Divivisional police officer, CSP Sola Knight, and newsmen later paid a condolence visit to the families of the deceased and victims that are still recuperating in the hospital and presented them with some cash gifts.
Speaking on behalf of the deceased’s families, the grieving father of the 27-year-old Faliat, Mr Dauda Ozigi, expressed the need for the company to be more proactive to the needs of the staff and the host community and urged the management of the company not to abandon the family.
The mother of the deceased, Mrs Helen Friday Ozigi, broke down and wept during the visit as sympathisers from neighbourhood thronged out to console her.