Philip Clement, Abuja
An Ajaokuta based Ceremics company, BN Ceremic industry Nig. Ltd. in Kogi state has vowed to give top priority to the welfare of every cadre of its workforce, irrespective of incessant harassment and extortion by some youths groups in the area.
The company also reiterated it’s commitment in providing succor to it’s host communities through its corporate social responsibility platform especially by providing employment opportunities to youths.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, he said the youths allegedly invaded the company premises and destroyed property worth millions of naira, the Human resources Manager of the company, Mallam Saliu Mohammed said the management was shocked over the invasion.
According to him, “the youths under the auspices of Pan African Youths Development Network forcefully invaded 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 disclosed that the youth group who also illegally demanded for a bus and certain amount of money to be paid to them from the company’s monthly profit also incited the workers against the management of the company which according to him led to the shutdown of the company.
“BN ceramic provides employment to over 1000 youths and pays all local government, states and federal government taxes and levies, if they shut us down what would happen to the teeming youths working here?
This kind of blackmail and intimidation will only scare away foreign investors from the country,” He said.
Mohammed stressed that the youth group capitalized 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.
He told Journalists that immediately the news of the accident got to the management, they immediately dispatched some people to the scene led by the company’s safety officers who rescued the victims and immediately took those injured to the hospital.
Regrettably, “two female staff of the company namely, Faliar Ozigi and Halimat Jibo died on the spot of the accident.” he added.
The human resources manager said while he was preparing to go to the scene of the accident with other management team of the company to sympathize and give them necessary support, some youths in the area threatened to lynch them if they ventured out of the company premises, a situation which he said scared them.
He, however, disclosed that the management still made necessary arrangements and 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