By Ibanga Isine
Nigerian billionaire and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has finally settled with the families of several youth who were killed or injured by rampaging troops guarding his multi-billion dollar cement factory in Gboko, Benue State, North-central Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report that apart from settling those who were directly affected in the March 18 shootings, Mr. Dangote also upped his corporate social responsibility by approving that quarry machines be provided to youth in the communities to aid their quarry business.
The traditional ruler of Gboko, Gabriel Shosum, confirmed these during an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday.
He said cheques were handed over to the beneficiaries at the multi-purpose conference hall of the cement company on August 22.
According to the monarch, each family that lost a youth got N5 million cheque while those injured received N2 million each.
“I witnessed the handing over of the cheques with some of my traditional rulers. The plant manager and the community relations director led the delegation of Dangote Cement. The monies were given ranging from N2mllion to N5million,” Mr. Shosum said.
“Those who were injured were given N2 million and each of the bereaved families got N5 million. The cheques were given on August 22 at the conference hall of the factory. I led the delegation of Gboko community to the meeting.
“The plant manager and the director in charge of community relations led the delegation of the Dangote Group,” he added.
He said peace was gradually returning to the community, adding that the community was still holding meetings with representatives of Dangote Group to resolving other contentious issues.
“We are still having meetings with communities around the factory area. I have just been informed that the company has directed that quarry machines be given to some youth in the community who are having difficulty in their stone breaking businesses,” he said.
“We are going to have another meeting with them (representatives of Dangote Group) in order to select a day the machines will be given out to the beneficiaries.
“We had requested Mr. Dangote to build schools and give loans to our youth to do business but we were told that when he returns from a trip abroad, he will handle those issues.”
PREMIUM TIMES had on June 30, after months of investigations, exposed the massacre of seven youth by soldiers at Mr. Dangote’s factory after demonstrators gathered to protest an earlier shooting, by a soldier, of a 19 year-old man.
Terhile Jirbo was the teenager whose shooting sparked the crisis. He was attacked for relieving himself near the cement factory and refusing to pack the waste with his mouth when a soldier ordered him to do so.
Mr. Jirbo survived the attack but the bullet tore his mouth apart and left him permanently disfigured.
Villagers, who responded after the shooting by staging what several witnesses said was a peaceful demonstration, met a bloody pushback by the troops
Source: Premium Times