By Uche Amunike
The Dangote Group has dissociated itself from being involved in the recent Kogi Assembly fire outbreak which occurred on Monday morning, burning the assembly gallery to ashes. A fire engine belonging to Dangote Cement, Obajana however arrived and extinguished the fire.
According to a statement signed by the Group Head, Branding and Communications, Dangote Industries, Mr Anthony Chiejina, the Dangote Group is a socially responsible corporate entity and would never stoop so low as to sponsor thugs to destroy either individual or government property.
He outrightly condemned ‘the unprofessional and irresponsible attempt to smear its image before local and international investors and thus erode its brand value’.
He maintained that an action as ugly as being responsible for causing the Kogi Assembly fire outbreak, runs contrary to the group’s business ideals and every good name the company has built for itself as a leading manufacturer with customers and consumers all over Nigeria and Africa.
He further stated that lawyers representing the Dangote Group have been instructed to appropriately react to the damaging location from the Kogi State government within the full ambit of the law.
Part of his statement read: ‘Our attention has been drawn to a circulating press statement issued by the Kogi State government, wherein the Dangote Group was accused of allegedly sponsoring arsonists to set the Kogi State House of Assembly on fire in the early hours of Monday, Oct. 10’.
‘The statement titled, ‘Obajana: Desperation sets in as imported hoodlums burn down Kogi Assembly,’ which was signed by the Kogi State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, pointedly accused our company of burning the Complex’.
‘….in an attempt to possibly destroy evidence relating to the ownership tussle between the Kogi State Government and the Dangote Group over the Obajana Cement Company.’
‘We urge our stakeholders and the public to disregard such irresponsible and insane statements.’
‘We ask all our stakeholders, namely shareholders, customers, suppliers, employees, and the entire community of Obajana and Kogi State at large to remain calm while we follow the legitimate and lawful process to resolve this matter with the State Government’, the statement concluded.
The Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Prince Mathew Kolawale during a session to Newsmen, however stated that the house will let security agencies to carry out investigations concerning the incident, while adding that the investigation would not deter the assembly from carrying out its duty.
The Kogi State government on their part, has given the assurance that investigations into the cause of the Kogi Assembly Fire outbreak has commenced and that experts were presently working to reveal the cause.
Speaking through a statement released by the Kogi state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, the government called on the general public to remain calm, law abiding and also, resist the urge to become lawless as the government is capable of dealing with the likely outcome of the investigation.
‘The state government will also make a provision for temporary arrangements to ensure legislative business is not completely halted as a result of the unfortunate incident’, the statement concluded.