National Human Rights Commission has found Dangote Cement Plc liable for the death of seven people who were killed by the company’s guards in its premises at Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State in March, 2014, and has ordered the cement giant to pay N35m compensation to the families of the deceased.
The commission also ordered the company to pay seven others who were injured by the soldiers attached to guard the cement company on the same day N2m each.
It would be recalled that one of the victims, Terhile Jibor, who went to the back of the factory to defecate, was ordered by the soldiers to pick the faeces with his mouth. His refusal to comply led to the solider shooting him in the mouth, an act that resulted in a protest by the youth of the community.
A statement by the Chief Press Officer of the NHRC, Fatimah Mohammed, on Thursday, said Dangote Cement was expected to pay N5m to each of the families of the seven deceased persons and N2m each to the seven injured persons.
According to Mohammed, the company agreed to pay the money after the NHRC investigated the petition of the victims and families of the deceased person.
The statement read in part, “Victims and family members affected by the March 18, 2014 crisis at Tse-kucha in Yandev, Gboko Local Government Council of Benue State, have expressed appreciation to the National Human Rights Commission for its intervention in their petition on the case of alleged extra-judicial killing pending before the commission and requested it to close the matter.
“The commission had, pursuant to the receipt of the complaint undertaken preliminary investigations and conducted hearings after which parties explored mediation and reached an agreement brokered by the Governor of Benue state, Dr. Gabriel Susuam between representatives of the victims and Dangote Cement Plc.
“This amicable settlement resulted to the acceptance by the management of Dangote Cement plc to pay a monetary compensation of five million naira (N5,000,000.00) each to the families of the seven deceased persons and two million naira (N2,000,000.00) each to the seven injured persons.”
The statement also quoted the Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof Bem Angwe, as promising “that the commission will continue to hold any institution accountable for human rights violations committed by them.”