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Chinese company sues youth group over extortion

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A youth organisation, the Pan African United Youth Development Network, has dragged to court impersonating for extorting the sum of N2 million from a Chinese company, BIN Ceramic Industry.

The company also accused the group of unlawfully invading its factory premises, located at Itobe, Ajaokuta Local Government of Kogi State.

In an affidavit deposed before an Abuja Federal High Court by its counsel, Kemi Esene of Akinlolu Kehinde SAN & Co, BIN Ceramics explained that it received a letter, requesting for a courtesy visit from Amb. Habib Mohammed, President of the Pan African United Youth Development Network, on January 5, 2021 – a request it declined.

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The group, it said, followed-up the letter, dated January 12, 2021, reminding it of the earlier request for a courtesy call. But the company insisted it was within its constitutional power to accept or decline a request for a courtesy call from individuals or non-regulatory entities.

A court document made available to The Guardian revealed that on January 20, 2021, Amb. Habib Mohammed, and Amb. Yara Yarr, President and Secretary-General of the Pan African United Youth Development Network led some broadcast and online journalists to forcefully gain entrance into the premises of the company.

“Issues got ahead, a week later, on 20th January 2021, when the company received a call from an unknown number, claiming to be from the presidential villa, Abuja, informing it that some people from the presidential villa were coming to BIN Ceramics.”

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“At about 2 pm of the same day, the Youth Group in the company of some prominent journalists forced their way into the premises, thereby hampering the operation of the company. While the siege lasted, no one could either go out or enter the company’s premises,” the legal document said.

It noted that the group claimed to have received a petition against the company and that they were sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to enquire the validity of the issues raised in the petition but that they were unable to provide any concrete evidence to support their claims.

“The group took laws into their hands by searching the offices and factory. They also interrogated the staff of the company. While the siege and search lasted, the group ensured that the accompanied media organisations document everything done. For instance, they claimed that the company was feeding the workers with the same water the company was using for production.”

It added that the visitors demanded that N10 million be given to the President, Mohammed in addition to 10 percent of the company’s monthly profit and in addition to a bus, ambulance and medical equipment.

The group was said to have coerced the company into releasing N2 million.

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