Hold Ceramic firm liable for maltreatment of workers, CSOs tell Gov Bello -GCFRNG
ABUJA Civil Society Originations, OSC, has asked Governor Yahaya Bello of the state of Kogi to hold the management of the Chinese company BN Ceramics accountable for the alleged dehumanization and mistreatment of workers in the state.
CSO representatives, meeting under the Pan-African United Development Network body, PAUDN, who made the call while speaking at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, vowed not to allow any company to lead their youth into slavery. .
They said the BN Ceramics management, located in the Ajaokuta local government area of Kogi state, has become notorious for subjecting its mostly young Nigerian workers to mistreatment and abuse.
President Pan African United Youth Development Network, Amb. Habib Mohammed, in his speech, called on Governor Bello to sanction the company for violating factory rules regarding health, safety, hazards and precautionary measures.
Amb. Mohammed, who was visibly angered by the absence of the firm’s Managing Director at the meeting convened at the request of the State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said that the Governor has powers to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy granted to the company to operate in the state.
He said BN Ceramics was absent, ignoring the governor’s invitation and instead sent some members of the organization’s staff to defend the company’s ills at the meeting.
He recalled that “In January, the Pan-African United Development Network discovered that varying degrees of dehumanization were being applied to Nigerian BN ceramic workers.
“Victims within the organization have stepped forward to file complaints, but were excluded by the organization’s management and left to defend themselves even in dangerous health situations.
“Acting as an intermediary, the Pan-African United Development Network engaged the company at many levels, including through the Public Complaints Commission, DSS, High Courts and the Nigerian Police, but very little progress was made, and the company (BN Ceramics) accused the youth network of extortion.
“The Kogi state government, under the leadership of His Excellency Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello intervened in the matter to push for reconciliation and address the issues.
“The governor called a meeting between both parties for the sake of justice and the promotion of business in the state. During the meeting, the victims had the opportunity to express their painful experiences.
“Issues of employee death, worker rape and staff mistreatment were highlighted, but BN Ceramics representatives denied the allegations despite irrefutable evidence presented to Pharm’s Chief of Staff. Jamiu Abdulkareem Asuku, who represented the governor at the meeting.
“In closing, it was noted that the managing director of BN Ceramics was absent, ignoring the governor’s invitation and instead sent some members of the organization’s staff to defend the evils of the company.
“Pharm. Asuku drew attention to the default and ordered that the meeting be postponed and that both parties reconvene when the managing director who had been informed that he was abroad returned from his trip.
However, CSOs, who threatened to take the company to court if negotiations that were expected to convene soon failed, called out to young people whose fundamental rights are trampled on in their workplace.
He said, “Honestly, we can’t afford to fail the youth. We want to tell the youth of Kogi State and across Nigeria that now is the time to show solidarity and support them.
“We cannot afford to fail as young leaders. We must continue negotiating peace and ensuring more dialogue. Our National Assembly has failed in this case. Our regulatory agencies have failed.
“And I am taking this opportunity to speak to Nigerian youth and tell them that if their rights have been trampled on and their dignity taken from them, please send us a petition, I will take care of your case, we want to make sure that, as much as they Foreigners and locals may run business in Nigeria, most of them run it under the purview of the country’s law.
According to the Land Use Law, His Excellency, the Kogi State Governor can revoke the company’s land license if the company does not show up.
“If the leadership of the company did not appear at the next dialogue meeting with his Excellency, the governor of the state of Kogi should seize the company’s land and force them to do the right thing.