*Urges Dangote to disregard reports of Okpella hostility
The paramount ruler of Okpella, the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella Kingdom, Alhaji Yesufu Dirisu has read the riot act to the what he termed as inciting activities of agents of Bua Cement in the community warning that his palace would no longer tolerate any group using pseudo names to dent the integrity of his palace and his people.
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 Bua Cement to the effect that the people of the community are spoiling for a show a down with Dangote Cement over its decision to come to the community to explore limestone for cement production purposes in the area.
Contrary to reports in a section of the media that there was tension in the community over alleged planned attacks by unnamed persons, our correspondent who visited the sleepy community of Okpella observed that the entire community was calm and no sign of any unease.
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 murderer and kidnappers. Never! We never said so. That is why the Okpella Youth Initiative has challenged the faceless forum and retract that publication. We really mean it if they don’t within 14 days we take the next necessary action.”
Alhaji Dirisu said it was to clear the air 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. 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”, Okuokpellagbe declared.
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.”
Conducting our Correspondent round the Community, the Youth leader pointed out that they were very weary of havoc I wrought elsewhere due to similar incitement of the residents against their leaders and would rather work for peace and allow genuine investors come to their area.
Said he, “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.
This development is against the background of several sponsored reports in the newspaper to the effect that the people of the community are spoiling for a showdown against Dangote Cement over plans by the Company to go into mining and production of Cement in the area.
The Okuokpellagbe urged Chairman of Dangote Cement PLC, Alhaji Aliko Dangote to disregard such ugly reports and make haste to help Okpella community by investing there just as he has done in other places in Nigeria and Africa.