The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery has denied the rumored deaths of staff during a protest at its Numan, Adamawa plant by some youths of its Gyawana host community.
A statement from the management signed by the Managing Director, Ravindra Singhvi said neither was there a protest by its staff nor was anyone shot dead as insinuated in an online report.
The statement said: the attention of the management of Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) has been drawn to an online report by Sahara Reporters about the deaths of some protesting staff at our Sugar Refinery, in Numan, Adamawa state.
“We would like to state categorically that this report is an absolute falsehood, none of our staff protested and no life was lost. On several occasions, members of the Gyawana Youth Association have shut down the operations of the company while threatening staff on duty to stop work.
The activities of these hoodlums have been reported to security operatives following which the Adamawa State Commissioner of Police and State Director of Security Services invited the executives of the Association and asked them to desist from interfering and threatening the DSR Numan’s staff and operations.
To protect our staff from external violence and ensure continuity, DSR Numan also obtained a Restraining Order from the Magistrate Court in Numan against the Gwayana Youth Association; an order they disobeyed, resulting in an arrest warrant issued by court against the Executives of the same Association.
Another threat was issued by the Youth Association on Thursday, July 15, 2021, about plans to forcefully enter and destroy the assets of the company and attack any person found within the company premises.
With this threat to life, family and company assets, management requested the assistance of law enforcement agencies in Numan to help protect life and assets of the company. The request was granted, and some officers were drafted in to secure the gates against the protesters.
“In a bid to prevent the protesting youths from forcefully shutting down the company’s operations, the law enforcement officers mounted a barricade at the entrance of the Company during which three people sustained minor injuries and were promptly taken to the hospital for treatment and discharged accordingly.
“We repeat that no single casualty was recorded during the protest as erroneously reported in the online publication. As a responsible corporate organisation, we believe in due process and rule of law and sanctity of human lives and that was why we went to court and also reported the disturbance to the security agencies.
“We also urge Sahara Reporters to always check thoroughly to have all the facts before rushing to the press as to avoid misleading the populace.”
Also refuting the report, the Nigerian Army in Adamawa State has denied that seven people were shot dead by its men during the protest.
According to Major Haruna Mohammed Sani, Assistant Director Army Public Relations of 23 Brigade, Yola, Adamawa State, in a press release signed by him, the Gyawana community staged a protest against the management of Dangote Sugar Company threatening to shut down the establishment and abduct foreign expatriates for sacking some staff of the company who are members of the host community.
“Efforts to calm the situation by the Nigerian Police and personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence corps proved abortive as the irate youths, wielding cutlasses,machettes and other dangerous weapons, overpowered them.”
The Army said when a distress call was made to an Internal Security outfit in Adamawa state Nicknamed Operation Farauta, comprising soldiers and other Para-military Agencies, they swiftly mobilized and moved to reinforce the Police and Civil Defence deployment at the location. In the process, tear gas as well as warning shots were fired as some of the non- violent means of crowd dispersal and to further prevent own troops from being lynched by the mob.
“Consequently, the situation was brought under control. unfortunately, some soldiers sustained minor injuries from the stones thrown by the mob but no single protester was killed.”
He said that the Nigerian Army is a professional and disciplined institution that operates within the purview of the constitution and in line with Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct which serve as guides to troops in all military engagements.
Members of the general public are therefore enjoined to remain calm and disregard the mischievous report while rendering support to the Nigerian Army in her resolve to discharge its constitutional mandate of aiding the civil authority when called upon to safeguard lives and property of law abiding citizens.