Okpella Youths Call For Commencement Of Dangote Cement Plant
SAN FRANCISCO, March 13, (THEWILL) – Youths in Okpella community, Edo State, have protested to the palace of the paramount ruler of the community over perceived delay in the commencement of construction of a Dangote Cement plant.
The youths carrying placards stormed the palace, over the weekend, insisting that the monarch clarify the situation, as it has taken too long for Dangote Cement to register its presence, months after making its intention known to the public.
Some of the placard read: “All we are saying, let Dangote Cement come to Okpella,” “Okpella youths earnestly ask for Dangote Cement,'' and “Okpella chief and elders, please beg Dangote to come here. We are waiting for him.”
THEWILL recalls that Dangote Cement recently announced plans to commence a 3 million metric tons (mmt) per annum production capacity cement plant in Okpella, along with another 6mmt capacity plant in Itori, Ogun State.
Speaking at the palace, Christopher Kadiri, President, Okpella Youths Forum, said the protest was informed by reports that Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote Group, had changed his mind to start cement operations at Okpella at a time the youths were already expecting that more jobs were coming to them.
Kadiri said they decided to come to the palace to hear from the chiefs and elders why Dangote should not be allowed into Okpella, when his coming was supposed to be a blessing to members of the community who were yearning for development of the area.
“We are not a cursed people; why should we say an investor like Dangote should not come to Okpella?” he queried.
“This is an international investor that even nations and heads of states are begging to come and invest in their countries. Now, the same man says he want to come and build his cement plant here and we are hearing that some people are blocking him.”
In response, Richard David, Secretary, Okpella Traditional Council, dismissed the insinuations saying that the Council has been in the forefront of agitation for Alhaji Dangote to come and make use of the abundant limestone in Okpella to start cement production.
“Dangote coming to Okpella is a blessing to all, you can see the expression of joy, enthusiasm and excitement in the faces of the chiefs when Dangote announced that he was coming to set up cement plant here,” he said.
“He is welcome and we promised him he would not be disappointed. We pledged our solidarity and cooperation to him and his business. There is peace here and no threat at all to him. He should come quickly.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella, A.Y.E Dirisu, revealed that “nobody in Okpella can stop Dangote from coming to set up a cement plant here. In fact, the day he announced he was ready to start construction, we were happy. It is to the good of all and the community.
“I don't want to be a ruler over undeveloped community. I want a good life for my people. I want the youths to be employed, I want our women to have something doing; you can't imagine the ripple effect of Dangote Cement here in Okpella.”
Story by David Oputah