Thursday, 10 August 2017

Activist Drags Dangote, Ortom to Court over poor state of Makurdi-Gboko Road


Aliko Dangote
A Benue-born activist, Solomon Semaka has dragged the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom before the State High Court in Gboko over the poor state of the Makurdi-Gboko Road. Also joined in the suit is Dangote Cement PLC which has one of its plants is located along the Makurdi Gboko road. The road, especially the Tse-Kucha-Yandev axis is in a terrible state of disrepair and is considered by many road users as a death trap.

In a statement sent to The Journalist Blog, Solomon Semaka is alleging “discriminatory conduct on the part of Alh. Aliko Dangote GCON, President of Dangote Group and Africa’s richest man”
Solomon Semaka

Semaka, who is a well know social commentator is a asking the court to issue among others “an order compelling the respondents, jointly and severally, to immediately take all necessary action towards the complete rehabilitation of the Makurdi-Gbooko road to bring it in conformity with global standards, and to the overall benefit of all road users who daily commute on the said road”

He adds that “the Suit is commenced under the fundamental rights enforcement procedure rules 2009”
Gov Samuel Ortom

Other reliefs sought by the suit include “declaration that the failure, refusal or neglect of the 1STRespondent to rehabilitate the Makurdi-Gboko Road, in line with his well-known philanthropic activities, constitutes: i. A flagrant violation of the Applicant’s vested fundamental right to freedom from discrimination, Article 28 African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act CAP 10 Laws of the Federation LFN) ii. A deliberate and willful infraction of the right of employees of the 2ND Respondent to work under equitable and satisfactory conditions as guaranteed under Article 15 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act CAP 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN). A DECLRATION THAT, notwithstanding the designation of the Makurdi – Gbooko Road as a Federal Highway, the 3RD Respondent has a moral and legal obligation to manage and maintain same and ensure it is in a condition that offers commuters comfort, safety and security”

In a 26 paragraph affidavit deposed to by the Plaintiff and filed in support of the suit the plaintiff alleges that Alh. Aliko Dangote, GCON has refused failed or neglected to avail the community where Dangote Cement PLC is located, and the larger Benue community, his philanthropic activities based on the initial opposition to his take-over bid of the defunct Benue Cement Company Ltd. Excerpts of some paragraphs of the affidavit are as follows:

“It is my firm belief that based on the facts deposed to in paragraph 7 above, the 1ST Respondent has yet to overcome this initial opposition to his takeover of the 2ND Respondent and it is against this background that his current action may be understood and appreciated” “In the light of this evidently eloquent testimony of the 1ST Respondent’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, there is absolutely no justification as to why the road in question, which serves his business interests and investment, and is daily plied by vehicles conveying cement to various parts of the country, will continue to remain in the shameful and despicable state of disrepair in which it currently is” “Although the said road is designated as a “federal road” and, consequently, placed under the responsibility of the Federal Government of Nigeria, it nevertheless; directly connects Makurdi, the Benue State capital, to two Local Government Headquarters – Wanune in Tarkaa Local Government Area and Gbooko in Gbooko Local Government Area, and passes through Abinsi in Guma Local Government Area. In addition, the said road links Makurdi the Capital of Benue State to all seven local government areas in zone A senatorial district of the state” “I am equally aware that the road leading to Obajana Cement factory from the Abuja-Lokoja-Okene road was not only constructed by the 1ST Respondent but that he has continued to ensure that it is maintained in the highest level of professionalism to ensure that at all times it is in a motorable condition” “In addition, I am not aware that the 2ND Plaintiff has ever extended any hand of fellowship, by way of donation or other philanthropic gestures, either through the Benue State Government or directly to the people of the state in the face of the recurrent farmer-herder clashes that have resulted not only in loss of lives and property but also to massive displacement of huge populations who are usually hurriedly accommodated in temporary shelters or camps meant for internally displaced persons” “I readily admit that the responsibility of providing infrastructure, including the Makurdi – Gbooko road, and humanitarian intervention in deserving situations, is primarily that of the Benue State Government and the Federal Government, but private individuals like the 1ST Respondent who has an enviable track record of philanthropy and, stands to also benefit from this road, must support government in the delivery of critical infrastructure”
The case has been adjourned to Monday, August 28.



No comments:

Designed by Jide Ogunsanya.