The National Association of Kogi State Students (NAKOS) has expressed determination to defend the stand of the government over ownership of the Obajana Cement company up to the International Court of Justice.
The Kogi State students backed the state government’s demands in a statement signed by Ms Rachael Balogun, President, NAKOSS National and Chairperson, Council of 36 States Students Presidents (CSSP) on Sunday.
The students, in various institutions across Nigeria said that the Dangote Group had for long, carried out devastating economic injustice on the people of the state.
According to them, the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and the state House of Assembly should be commended for insisting on correcting what they described as the age-long economic intimidation and exploitation by the Dangote Group.
They accused Dangote of allegedly unfairly exploiting the state for years, with many either dying daily from environmental hazards arising from the company’s activities in the area or in the hands of its reckless drivers that have killed many across Nigeria.
According to the students, the failure of the management of Dangote Cement to show evidence of responsible transfer of the shares of the company belonging to Kogi State is a clear pointer to the fact that the group allegedly robbed indigenes of Kogi of their birth rights.
They therefore insisted on defending the state government’s position up to the International Court of Justice.
“As indigenes of Kogi State, we affirm that the Government of Kogi State, under Alhaji Yahaya Bello, should be commended for demanding evidence of a strange agreement that delivered our birth rights, 100 per cent, on a platter of gold to Dangote Group.
“In spite of the fact that Obajana Cement Factory was established and nurtured by the Kogi State Government until Dangote offered to partner with the state.
“There are documents already in the public domain detailing the economic injustice carried out against the Kogi people in view of an investment that has not for one day benefitted them.
“We have listened to the misleading argument of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in its press statement of Friday, 7th October, 2022.
“And we are duty bound to inform the public that the argument of this association, which the whole world knows is being controlled by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, is lopsided and lacks merit, ” it stated
According to them, this and other such arguments by other associations in the league of MAN are, to say the least, a slap on the faces of indigenes of our state who have been unfairly exploited for years.
“All these hazards, yet nothing accrues to the government from a concern it created.
“Let it be clear that we are students of Kogi State learning in higher institutions across Nigeria; but we can safely reflect the minds of even our family members that this struggle is not that of the Governor or the House of Assembly alone,” the group said.
They said it was is a collective struggle and they would seek justice as far as the International Court.
“We acknowledge the efforts of Aliko Dangote to industrialize the country, create jobs and wealth through various factories, but we wish to state unequivocally that he cannot rewrite history in our own case as we know the story of Obajana from inception.
“This case is simple. Show evidence of consideration or payment, 100 per cent, for our Obajana and we will tell the whole world to judge.
“It is our strongly held opinion that the fact-finding action of the Kogi State House of Assembly that exposed the inability of the Management of Dangote Cement to show evidence of responsible transfer of the shares of the company belonging to Kogi State is an action in the right direction, especially that the company was given ample opportunity to provide proof.
“While we appeal to both parties to embrace peace and dialogue, we strongly commend the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the State House of Assembly for the diligent efforts that culminated in shutting down the factory.