From Matthew Onah, Yola:
No fewer than 6,000 jobs maybe lost following suspected herdsmen arson attack on a 55 hectares sugar cane field owned by Savanah Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Dangote Group.
The plantation was allegedly razed down by rampaging Fulani herdsmen when they attacked Numan and Demsa Local Government Areas of Adamawa State, recently.
General Manager of the company, Mr Palanisamy Chandrasekaran, confirmed the loss to DAILY ASSET, saying that it was too early to estimate the total loss to the
company but that the burnt sugar cane field cost over N1billion.
Chandrasekaran, who lamented that it would take long while to recover from the loss, disclosed that workers of the company were about to harvest the plantation when the incident happened.
It would be recalled that Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, paid a working visit to Adamawa State recently to inspect the carnage by the rampaging gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, who carried out reprisal attacks on Bachama communities.
The herdsmen attacked and sacked over six Bachama communities of Dong, Lawuru, Shaforon, Kodomti, Bolon and Gereng resulting in the deaths of over six mobile policemen and at least 45 villagers.
An associate of the Dangote Group has appealed to the Federal Government to consider a compensation package for the Group over the burnt sugar cane plantation.
The associate who spoke with DAILY ASSET on condition of anonymity said such a measure would boost the confidence of the President, Alhaji Aliko Dangote to commit further funds to restore operations of the Sugar Refinery.
The associate was not specific on the company’s expectations from the government but said there was urgent need for government intervention considering that the sugar refinery only recently resumed operations after a period of closure.
Spokesman of the Adamawa State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Alhaji Iro Musa, condemned the arson attack on the Dangote sugar cane field, and call for compensation by government.
He stated that the destruction was capable of discouraging other genuine investors from engaging in such investments.
Musa, then urged the federal and state governments to urgently look into the issue of providing security for investors if the country was to diversify its economy.
He lamented that over 6,000 workers on the plantation would have to be laid off due to the criminal arson committed by the herdsmen.
The Savannahs Sugar Company, Numan, was
recently re-organised to meet up with its production objectives of meeting the backward integration programme of the Nigeria sugar council master plan after a major labour disagreement between the workforce and the management.
Managing Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, Engineer Abdullahi Sule had recently stated at joint press conference with the leaders of the host communities that with the turn-round maintenance of the factory
it was geared towards doubling production capacity from 20,000 tons of sugar annually to 35, 000 tons.
However, with the burning down of the field last Monday, such a projection was no longer realizable.
He stated that the management of the coy was also re-jigged for enhanced efficiency and productivity, adding that some to key staff of the company have been retired after meritorious service to the company.
He also announced the reabsorption of the over 300 seasonal workers that were laid off for the maintenance work to be done.
Speaking at the press conference, leader of host communities, Honourable Jerome Takama, said consensus have been reached on the corporate social responsibilities of the Dangote group to the host communities, and appealed to the people of the area to corporate with the company as it reopens for production.
He commended the traditional ruler of the area, the Hama Bachama, Honest Irimiya Stephen Kkpafrato 11, for engendering peaceful atmosphere in the communities and for properly guiding the community representatives and youth leaders, towards achieving developmental gains in the area.
The Dangote group would spend N53 million in renovating Government Secondary School, Numan, which is being converted to a command secondary school to be donated to the Nigeria Army Education Corp.