Truck drivers protest against ‘unfair treatment’ by Obajana mgt
‘They’re angry over anti-theft devices installed on vehicles’
Truck drivers working with Obajana Cement Factory, Kogi State, have been protesting alleged unfair treatment by the management of the company. The protest, which started on Sunday night and spilled over to Monday, led to the blocking of the only access road to Kabba. Motorists were forced to seek alternative routes to their destinations.
Using their trucks to block major entrances to Obajana factory site, the drivers demonstrated despite heavy security presence, demanding the removal of the management over unhealthy industry practices. They accused the management of high turnover of drivers, alleging that some of them lost their jobs on flimsy excuses.
One of the drivers told The Guardian on the sideline of the protest, that the officers had penchant for inflicting financial injury on the drivers, alleging illegal deductions from their salaries on flimsy excuses.
He noted that the action of the management affected the financial situation of the drivers, adding that some of them owe the company in millions of naira.
“The drivers are treated like nobody in Obajana. Sometimes, we have to repairs on the trucks with our money to keep our job. They hardly give us sufficient fuel. These are part of the problems we face here,” he said.
They also alleged that drivers were arrested and humiliated for no reason. Aside urging the authorities to address the issues raised above, they also lamented poor working condition and demanded the removal of the company’s Head of Transportation.
With the help of the Kogi Police Command and the army, the road was cleared on Monday afternoon. However, the Head of Corporate Communications, Dangote Group, Tony Chiejina, told The Guardian in Lokoja that the truck drivers were angry over the company’s decision to instal anti-theft devices on the trucks.
“They are demanding the removal of such devices to enable them continue to steal fuel from the truck when they are to deliver cement.
“I have never heard of anywhere staff will get angry for having anti-theft devices installed to prevent fraud and loss to the company. They have been adequately taken care of in terms of remuneration, and so the company cannot and will not allow them to continue to steal,” Chiejina added.
The truck drivers had similarly blocked the road in November 2020 over unfair treatment by the management of the company, among other complaints.