The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery has narrated how security personnel clashed with some hoodlums in the premises of the company at Numan in Adamawa State, even as it denied that its staff members were involved, to the extent that seven of such staff died of gunshots.
A statement from the management signed by the Managing Director, Ravindra Singhvi said that members of the Gyawana Youth Association, who had once shut down the operations of the company and threatened the staff on duty to stop work, had also, on July 15, about planned 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.”
The management further explained that 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.”
The management position came on the heels of the response by the Nigerian army, to the news about the killing of seven staffers of the Dangote Sugar Refinery.
A statement by the Assistant Director of the Army Public Relations, 23 Brigade Yola, Major Haruna Mohammed Sani, described the Saharan Reporters story that soldiers opened fire on protesting staff of Dangote Sugar company at Gyawana district under Lafiya Lamurde Local Government Area of Adamawa State as “mischievous and libelous”
The statement said that on 15 July 2021 at about 2: 00 pm, 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.
It said that 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.
“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.
“The Sahara Reporters’ story was therefore written in a haste without observing the basic tenets of objectivity and balance in news story writing. It is also a calculated attempt to dent the image of the Nigerian Army which is doing so much to ensure that the good people of Adamawa state live in peace without threat to their lives and property.”
The statement 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.
The army asked members of the general public 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.”