Posted by News Express | 7 December 2015 | 4,399 times
The paramount ruler of Okpella, Alhaji Yesufu Dirisu, the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella Kingdom, has dismissed reports that the community is against Dangote Cement doing business in the area.
Alhaji Dirisu, who was receiving in audience some concerned stakeholders in his palace at the weekend, spoke against the background of reports said to have been sponsored by the management of a rival cement firm to the effect that the people of the community are spoiling for a showdown with Dangote Cement over its decision to come to the community to explore limestone for cement production purposes.
The traditional ruler said emphatically: “It’s all lies; nobody has said that Dangote should not come to Okpella to do business and do exploration. Some people for their selfish interest have been publishing falsehood, saying Okpella community does not want Dangote.
“I am the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella kingdom; I am speaking on behalf of the chiefs, elders and youths of this community: we have no issue with Dangote Cement. I have said it times without number; we want Dangote to come and do business here in Okpella. When every community, state and even nations are looking for investors, why should we ask Dangote not to come to our community?
“Aren’t we even lucky that he has seen something that is bringing him here? We want development for our people and the community. Some people somewhere just sat under a tree and conjured a report to the effect that we are calling Dangote Cement people murderers and kidnappers. Never! We never said so. That is why the Okpella Youth Initiative has challenged the faceless forum to retract that publication. We really mean it if they don’t within 14 days we take the next necessary action.”
Alhaji Dirisu disclosed that he had written a letter personally inviting and permitting Dangote to come and start exploration. “If BUA has a cement factory, that does not mean another company should not prospect for mineral in our land,” he said, adding: “As it is now, it is Dangote that is delaying, we are fully behind him. He has 101 per cent support from all of us in Okpella.
“Let it be on record that there is no bad blood between Okpella and Dangote. He is a friend of our people; he is my friend; he is our governor’s friend. We love him; he has nothing to fear. We want him to hasten things. Anything that can bring development is what we stand for. And Dangote cement is one of the things that can bring development and economic prosperity to our people and community.”
The Okuokpellagbe urged Chairman of Dangote Cement PLC, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to disregard the ugly reports and make haste to help Okpella community by investing there just as he has done in other places in Nigeria and Africa.
Speaking later, one of the youth leaders, John Umoru, said there was no security threat anywhere within the community, pointing out that the youths also stand for peace. “We the Okpella youths, we love peace and we like to do anything that will bring peace. It is in the atmosphere of peace that businesses can also thrive. We need jobs, we need economic empowerment,” he said.
Continuing, Umoru said: “What we hear Dangote is doing in Obajana, Ibese, Gboko and the rest of Africa, we want him to come and do it here in Okpella. We can’t ask a big investor like Dangote not to come here; we are too enlightened to be involved in such a frivolity.”
•Photo shows Dangote Cement Chairman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
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