The National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE) has called on a Kogi-based youth group, Pan African United Youth Development Network, to stop harassing and blackmailing the management and staff of BN Ceramics Industry Nigeria Ltd.
Mr Abdulkadir Adamu, BN Ceramics Industry Branch Chairman of NUCFRLANMPE, who made the call at a news conference in Ajaokuta on Thursday, alleged that the group had continued to harass the firm after extorting two million naira from it in January.
Adamu said that the network, led by one Mr Habib Mohammad and Mr Yara Yara, a Guinean citizen, invaded the company with heavy security on Jan. 20, claiming to be from the Presidential Villa.
He said that the group had told the company’s security that they were on a courtesy call to the management but caused chaos which led to panic and apprehension that disrupted the day’s operations.
“Gentlemen of the press, you are the conscience of the nation and you know that one of the greatest challenges of Nigeria today is unemployment.
“Our company has provided this window of opportunity for more than 500 Nigerians directly and over 1,000 indirectly.
“The company is also paying its corporate taxes as at when due and has assisted host communities within the limit of its resources,” he said.
According to him, the harassment has continued unabated with recent You-Tube video in circulation, creating impression that they are fighting for workers welfare when in actual fact, they are seeking to destroy their means of livelihood.
“In the said video, they claimed they were fighting for workers who are youths since the youths fall within their mandate.
“They also claimed that BN Ceramic management refuses to honour an invitation by Gov. Yahata Bello of Kogi to resolve the dispute”, he said.
The union chairman, however, refuted claim that the group was fighting for workers’ interests, saying that their aim was ill-motivated and meant to extort money from the company.
He noted that the company had lived up to expectation in the payment of workers’ entitlements, salaries and wages, as well as provision of logistics.
He warned the group against involving the governor and The Presidency into the issue as it could attract prosecution.
Adamu urged the government, organised labour and civil society organisations to check the group’s activities in order not to scare away foreign investors from the state and jeopardise efforts to address unemployment in the country.
When contacted, Mohammed, President of the network, in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the state governor had waded into the matter for amicable resolution.
He declined further comment, saying anything on the matter would amount to undermining the governor’s intervention and directive. (NAN)