Group alleges exclusion of Yoruba in Dangote Comapanies located in South West

By Samuel Ogunsona

The Dangote group of companies operating in Yoruba land have been accused of marginalizing Yoruba indigenous people in the territories where the company operates.

In a statement on Wednesday, the O’odua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC) a pan Yoruba group accused Dangote Cement Company, Dangote Sugar and Dangote Refinery which are all located in Yoruba territories of exclusion and economic isolation.

The group said the trend is not good for the corporate brotherlinesss and responsibility of the company.

ONAC in a statement signed by Lateef Ajayi said the top management hierarchy and Board of Directors of the companies in the Yoruba territories have less than 1% of Yoruba people in the Board of Directors.

The group said “Out of about 16 board members in Dangote Cement only one is a Yoruba person

ONAC listed the names of the Board Members as Aliko Dangote GCON, Arvind Pathak, Philip Mathew, Olakunle Alake, Alhaji Abdu Dantata, Devakumar V.G Edwin, Ernest Ebi MFR, Emmanuel Ikazoboh, Douraid Zaghouani, Dorathy Udeme Ufot SAN, Viswanathan Shankar, Cherie Blair CBE QC, Berlina Moroole and Halima Aliko-Dangote.

The group said of the long list, only one is a Yoruba person.

The group said that the Dangote Sugar Refinery in Lagos has Aliko Dangote, Ravindra Singh Singhvi, Uzoma Nwankwo NBA, Olakunle Alake, Hajiya Yabawa Lawan Wabi CPA, Konyinsola Ajayi PhD, Bennedikter China Molokwu and Maryam Yogana Bashir MBA with only two Yoruba person is in the Board of Directors.

The group said the position of Dangote Group of companies undermine the
United Nation declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

ONAC recall that in 1994, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolutions A/RES/48/163 and launched the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004) to increase the United Nations commitment to prompting and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples worldwide.

It noted that the Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights; cultural rights and identity; rights to education, health, employment, language and others and that it outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. The group said citing and a mult trillion dollar investment on Yoruba indigenous territory is an issue that concerns the Yoruba because of the far reaching implications on community access to land, pollution and environmental sustainability of indigenous peoples on the listed territories.

ONAC said “indigenous people provided the land where these companies are located. Dangote Companies show outright abuse of international convention on the right of indigenous people by exclusion of the indigenous peoples on these territories or their representatives.

ONAC added, “The taking over of the land of indigenous people where these companies are located, have exterminated forest and aquatic resources that can never be quantified in dollars or pounds. It is shocking, beyond measure that less than one percent of Yoruba people are in the various Boards of Directors Dangote Companies.

ONAC said there is no justified reason why the Board of Directors of Dangote Refinery, Dangote Sugar and Dangote Cement should not be at least 40% Yoruba.

“This is not a case about whether the Yoruba people are investors or not, the fact of the matter is that Yoruba people provide the land and the cultural environment where the companies operate.”

The group called on Mr Aliko Dangote for justice and equity, to reverse the trend and ensure more Yoruba inclusion adding that it does not have the figures of Yoruba workers but convinced that the workers are expected to reflect the same character of the Board composition.

ONAC praised Mr Dangote for his contributions to the economy of Nigeria and the South West adding that he needs to move forward to a higher level of trust the aspect of corporate responsibility to his hosts.

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