The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, has warned Dangote Cement Company to remedy the environmental hazards caused by its excavation activities or face court summon.
Angwe gave the warning when he led the monitoring and compliance team of the commission on a visit to Dangote Cement Plant in Gboko on Friday.
He said the commission had received series of complaints from the host community on the monumental danger being caused to them following the company’s excavation activities.
The executive secretary said oil spillage from the company into River Ngo had destroyed the only source of water for the Tse-Kucha community.
Angwe expressed displeasure with the fact that the management of the company had also let the oil spill into the community’s farmland.
He noted that agriculture, which was the people’s mainstay, would be adversely affected, and condemned the parking arrangement of the company.
He said trucks, which conveyed cement to various states were all parked on the federal road sides leading to obstruction, traffic gridlocks and accidents.
“Your parking arrangement has turned this road to a death trap,’’ he said, and directed the management to create parking spaces for its trucks.
He also advised them to cooperate with the Federal Road Safety Commission to ensure that all trucks drivers complied with the ‘no parking’ directives on the road sides.
Angwe urged the company to find urgent way of ensuring that their activities conformed with the best environmental practices or face court summons.
He warned that the commission’s next visit to the company would not be a parley, adding that the warning was not a witch-hunt but to clean up the system of its operations.
“We encourage industrialisation in Nigeria but we must ensure that human rights are not violated in the process”, Angwe said.
Sen. Joshua Lidani, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary/Human Rights and Legal Matters, said part of Dangote Cement Company’s corporate social responsibility was to ensure safety of people.
Lidani said the committee’s tour to Benue was to identify human rights challenges being faced and find lasting solution to them. (NAN)