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Why quarry owners shutdown operations in Ebonyi

Chief Chikaodiri Ojimba | Image: Daily Independent

Ojimba was arrested by the Police on Saturday on the instruction of agent company over his alleged refusal to remit government money into a private account

By Nweze Anaga,

 Abakaliki

The Consolidated Ebonyi Quarry Owners Association has shutdown operation following the Police arrest of its Chairman, Chief Chikaodiri Ojimba.

Ojimba was arrested by the Police on Saturday on the instruction of agent company over his alleged refusal to remit government money into a private account.

The association’s spokesman, Mr. Mbam Sunday, told newsmen at the quarry site in Ezillo in Ishielu Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday that they were not ready to resume duties until their chairman was released unhurt.

He said that the association’s interest was to support Governor Francis Nwifuru to achieve his desires of lifting the state out of poverty and as such, would not allow any individual to defraud the state of its generated revenue from the mining site.

Another member of the association, Mr. Emeka Nwodom, who also frown at the unlawful arrest and detention of the chairman by the agent company, called on Ebonyi State Governor Francis Nwifuru to intervene and facilitate the release of the chairman that was unlawfuly arrested.

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“Quarry owners will not allow imposition of agents in their mining site.

“Quarry is a solid mineral in the exclusive list of federal government and as such, we cannot accept any imposition of Agents.

“Our chairman called us for a meeting and there we resolved that we shall not by any means, pay our money to any individual account but government account only, so that our government  will get exactly amount of money generated from the mining site but regrettably, on Saturday, we heard that our chairman was arrested by the Agent company that has been forcing themselves on us maybe because it is owned by a highly placed person in the South East. They want to intimidate us.

“I want to assure the people to be ready to arrest more because we from Ebonyi are ready to sacrifice everything to see our state money is not transferred to anyone’s personal account.

“As you can see, we are not operating today because we don’t know the whereabout of our chairman; if he is alive or not. And we shall not operate until we see our chairman,” he said.

He then called on Governor Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru to intervene for the growth and good of the state.

However, efforts to reach the agent company was not fruitful as at the time of filing the report.

When contacted, the Ministry of Solid Mineral in the state, the Special Assistant to Governor on Solid Mineral, Chief David Ajah, urged the quarry dealers to be calm, promising that Governor Francis Nwifuru would attend to their problem.

valoa2000@yahoo.com

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