By Olufemilade Oyinade
Barring any last minute change, women and the youth in Ibese community of Ogun State and its environ are now warming up for a protest against Dangote Cement PLC, Ibese over the company’s alleged non-payment of land compensation to those whose lands were acquired by the company.
It was gathered that the planned protest is also to make the cement company to be alive to its allegedly abandoned corporate social responsibilities in the area.
It will be recalled that the Ibese women, who were joined by youths of the area, had in November 2020 taken to the streets of the town, accusing the company’s management Of gross insensitivity to their yearnings, more than 12 years after Dangote PLC has commenced operations on their land, making fortunes at the detriment of the land owners.
During the protest, the Head, External Relations, who doubles as the Liaison Officer between the company and the community, Pastor Joseph Alabi and the company’s acting Chief Security Officer, Mr. David, a retired soldier, were almost beaten to stupor by the protesting indigenes of the community, who accused them of thwarting moves by the owner of the company, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to pay them their entitlement, which they said was long due for payment.
The protest, which shook the community to its foundation and also affected the movement of Dangote cement to its consumers nationwide, came just as the counsel to Ibese community, Barrister Olajide Olawepo instituted a suit against Dangote Cement PLC, debunking a recent claim by the company that the company had so far expended over N4.2b on infrastructural development in its host communities in Yewa axis of the state.
Also, the lawyer, in a petition he wrote on behalf of the Regent of Ibese, Chief Tajudeen Adewuyi carpeted the company’s Head of Eternal Relations, Pastor Joseph Alabi, accusing him of conspiring with some unknown persons, he presented to Dangote Cement as those entitled to some payments on crop enumeration, living out those whose lands were actually acquired.
Sources informed that the women and youths of Ibese have decided to picket Dangote Cement anytime from now, following its failure to fulfill a pledge of early payment made by the Company’s Non-Executive Director, Mr Devakumar Edwin, in December last year, while addressing the Regent of the town and leaders of the protesting group.
The planned protest, according to findings, is currently sending jitters down the spines of staff of the multi-billion Naira company, who feared they could be attacked by irate mob during the protest.
One of the leaders of the protest, Mrs. Abidemi Oladitan confirmed the planned protest to newsmen on phone in Abeokuta.
“We are living no stone unturned in our avowed decision to take our destiny in our hands. Enough is enough. We have to free ourselves from the shackles of oppression by the highly insensitive management staff of Dangote Cement PLC,” she posited with worries.
According to her, the community has suffered total neglect as there was nothing to show for the existence of Dangote Cement on their land, adding that, “the future will be more gloomy for us if we do not stage this planned protest.”
The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Dangote Industries, Mr Francis Awowole-Browne and Pastor Alabi could not be reached for comment at the time of this report.