From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige has been called upon to immediately wade into the crisis between a youth organisation under the auspices of Pan African United Youth Development Network and an Ajaokuta based ceremic industry to forestall further break down of law and order.
The youth group was said to have engaged in a running battle with BN Ceramic company when it allegedly invaded the company premises a fortnight ago over allegations of maltreatment of its workers
The management of the ceremic industry said if the activities of this group is not quickly nibbed in the bud, it is capable of chasing foreign investors out of kogi state and the country at large.
The Ajaokuta- based Chinese ceramic company which said it has created over 1,000 jobs for youths and other categories of Nigerians in the last five years expressed worry why a non governmental youth organisation could just invade a legally registered company, threatening the management and calling on the.federal government to shut down the company after collecting ransum from the chinese management.
Speaking with newsmen over the weekend, the Human resources manager of the company, Mr Saliu Mohammed who said the organisation under the auspices of Africa United Youths Development Network after the invasion later ran to the media to blackmail the company inorder to cover up their malacious and falacious misdeeds.
He said non of the allegations raised by the youth organisation was true as it was merely a decoy to paint the company black before the general public and the federal government so as to chase the investors out of the country.
On the allegation that the company does not assist the host community, he brought out several files which contained documents to show newsmen on how the company has variously assisted the four host communities. Which are Ajaokuta, Oguro, Ofunene and Geregu communities.
According to him, since 2015 when the company commenced production, it has renovated the moribund Ajaokuta- native primary school at the cost of ₦ 2. 3 million, given over ₦3 million as Bursery/Scholarship to some undergraduate and postgraduate students of Ajaokuta-origin which he says its a programme run annually, but could not run last year because of covid-19 pandemic.
The human resources manager also disclosed that the company has a robust package for the aged (octogenerians) in the communities, where some of them are being paid ₦20,000 and ₦10,000 respectively depending on the age and state of health of receipients while the company has also taken the responsibility to construct a new police post which will cost over ₦ 10 million in this physical year.
Aside from the over eighty percent of its workforce which is sourced from the host communities, Mohamed said the company distributed over ₦10 million Naira worth of Covid19 palliative including soaps for washing hands, sanitizers and food stuff to the state government and local communities within Ajaokuta LGA. while the renovation of the Ajaokuta Science secondary school will commenced by second quarter of this year.
On the welfare of staff, he said contrary to insinuation that some workers received as low as ₦18, 000, he said no worker received less than ₦48,500 a month, as minimum salary, while some received up to ₦70,000 and above as salary, even as he said the company uses the latest equipment that can be obtained in any modern ceremics industry.
While showing some letters of appreciations written by the traditional ruler The ONU AJAOKUTA, COMMUNITY YOUTHS FORUM and the students’ body to newsmen, he denied the allegations of sexual harassment against some female workers and said ‘ it is arrant nonsense’
The human resources manager who expressed surprise that a youth organisation will suddenly turned itself to a government regulatory agency, asked ” when has courtesy call by them which we have not responded to , turned to an invasion?”
He therefore called on the minister for labour and productivity to personally pay a visit to the company to verify the truth or otherwise of the spurious allegations. against the company.