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Taraba Community Protests Planned Sale of Tea Company

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Residents of Kankara, the host community of Mambilla Beverages Limited in Sardauna Local Government of Taraba State have protested the alleged plan by the State Government to privatize the company and vowed to resist the plan.

A statement signed by Abdullahi Abdulkareem and Usman Laido, Chairman and Secretary of the Mambilla Highland Tea Producers, which was made available to journalists in Jalingo, indicted the state government of dating a political feud and a plan to sap the people of the community.

The statement, which was on behalf of the Kakara community also discredited claims by the state government that the community has consented to the sale of the company.

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“We categorically state here that no member of the host communities welcome the idea of the privatization, and are happy with anything about the so-called privatization”, maintaining that the company remains the most profitable of all the state-owned firms, especially in terms of service delivery and job creation.

“The company is the highest in terms of employment in Taraba State after the state government, and this is because of the low cost of production.

“If the government was interested in privatization for profitability, productivity, and efficiency, it should go on and privatize the Greenhouse in Jalingo, Kurmi Timber factory, Taraba Motel Jalingo, Jalingo new market, Cassava industry, and Gassol Rice Mills,” the statement read in part.

The community also alleged that the land on which the company is situated was taken over from them without compensation.

“We have a right to adequate compensation for any land taken over from us in accordance with domestic and international laws and socio-economic best practices. We reject the plan in its entirety and caution you on its ripple effects.

“The host community must be compensated for their lands taken over since 1975 and be paid the cumulative value to date at the current rate.”

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The statement further alleged discrimination against the host community particularly in appointments into administrative positions while leaving only menial jobs for them.

Recall that the community had in June staged a protest at the premises of the company, Kankara, where they were addressed by Iliya Ezekiel, the Managing Director of Taraba State Investments and Properties Limited.

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