OGUN GOVT BATTLES DANGOTE OVER DEMOLITION OF SCHOOL WHERE COMPANY ALLEGEDLY CLAIMS IT DISCOVERED MINERAL RESOURCES

 

Abayomi Arigbabu

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Abayomi Arigbabu

The Ogun State Government said it had stopped an attempt by Dangote Cement factory to demolish Elefon Primary School, Elefon in Ewekoro Local Government Area of the State.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Abayomi Arigbabu, confirmed this to PUNCH Metro on Tuesday.

The lawmaker representing Ewekoro State Constituency, Yusuf Amosun, had during plenary complained that the cement factory allegedly demolished the primary school on the claim that it discovered mineral resources within its premises.

Amosun had informed the assembly under personal explanation that the school was allegedly demolished by Dangote Cement “without notice to the appropriate government agencies.”

Consequently, the Speaker of the House, Olakunle Oluomo, condemned the alleged demolition of the primary school “under the guise of discovering mineral resources within the compound of the school.”

In a telephone conversation with our correspondent on Tuesday, the commissioner for education said the factory indeed obstructed the school premises some weeks ago. However, Arigbabu said government quickly waded in.

He said Governor Dapo Abiodun ordered that Dangote Cement be stopped from doing anything within the school.

Asked if he was aware that the primary school at Elefon was demolished by Dangote Cement, Arigbabu retorted: “I am not aware that it has been demolished, but we have taken some steps. If you go there, you will see the extent of what they have done, though we have reacted to stop them.

“The governor actually gave approval to stop whatever was going on in that place. So, I wouldn’t know if they have done anything after that. We have stopped them; it’s about two weeks or three weeks ago.

“For us, we are not aware of any approval, if there’s any approval for them to do what they are doing, they should let us see it.

“We are not aware that any acquisition was made. The school belongs to the government. That is why we stopped them when we heard of it. I am sure they have stopped, unless if there’s  any latest information.”

However, Dangote Cement in its reaction denied allegations that it demolished the primary school.

The company’s Special Duty and External Affairs Officer, Prince Yomi Gbadebo, said the school would still be affected as it falls within the company’s mining licence.

Gbadebo said, “We have a mining licence issued to Dangote Industries by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. That school falls within our mining licence and we are about to build our Itori Cement PLC.

“We have paid compensations to all the land owners. We have paid crops enumeration to all the land owners and those who have structures that fall within our mining licence. We have even enumerated that school. We have paid compensation for that school. We have written the cheque in the name of the Baale of that community. The Baale is in custody of the cheque, he has not even cashed the cheque. I think it is over N12m for the school.

“Our engineers have just started soil investigation; we have not built anything on that site. We are only there on site to carry out soil investigation. We have not demolished that school and we have not stopped pupils from going to school. As I speak to you, all the structures are still in place.

“Because of the proximity of that school to the Chinese Colony, we have our community development agreement, which will be signed by all affected communities. Under that agreement, it will be clearly stated how we are going to relocate the school, because our activities will involve that school as time goes on. We are going to put the school in a place that will be decided by the Ogun State Ministry of Education and SUBEB. As we speak, our activities have not affected that school. We have not demolished anything.”

Gbadebo further said the school might be affected in the next six months, adding that plans were under way to write the Ministry of Education on how to relocate and rebuild the school in a better place.

He disclosed that the state “Ministry of Physical Planning is aware of our activities on that land.”

Punch

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