INVESTIGATION: Artisans, Rano oil company in bitter war over N.3bn market demolition in Jos

INVESTIGATION: Artisans, Rano oil company in bitter war over N.3bn market demolition in Jos
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By Gaaden Puun, Jos

Amidst already tension in Jos over the suspected herdsmen killings in Jos and its environs, pressure is gradually building up in Jos, Plateau state over the demolition of shops belonging to members of the over 3,600 Nigerian Association of Small-scale Industrialists (NASSI), Plateau State chapter, by AA Rano oil company, AljazirahNigeria investigation has revealed.

Investigation further revealed that key members of NASSI, particularly those involved in Information and Communication Technologies, ICT, were the most affected by the September 24 demolition.

One of the NASSI firms whose gadgets, computers, air conditioners, sensitive data including software developed for the World Bank assisted projects for the Plateau State Universal Basic Education Board and Commission, Nasarawa state University, Keffi, Champions Royal Assembly, Abuja, Dorman Shelter, was among those who were affected.

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The demolition also affected educational contractors in the state as demographic data built to attract assistance from development partners like the World Bank, UNICEF, The EU, USAID, were also affected.

Eyewitness account recall that thugs were hired with a private bulldozer to effect the demolition when the shop occupants were still in their worship centres on that Sunday. However, a car dealer, Alhaji Ibrahim was spared as his car stand was not touched.

Further investigation by AljazirahNigeria revealed that a monthly wage of N3.5m belonging to Epod Project Nigeria Limited, with modern designed software equipment whose current market value was put at $235,000 were pulled down.

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NASSI state chairman, Mr. Steven Daniel Gondhi , in an interaction with AljazirahNigeria, revealed that about twenty-five employees from two member-companies have been rendered jobless and by extension,  their over 300 dependents are affected.

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Engr. Michael Mallo, whose ICT firm, Epod Project Watch Limited, was shattered, was yet to recover from shocks a week after the demolition took place due to what a close family source described as “unprecedented lost”.
However, his lawyers, led by Barrister Gideon Ngwen, confirmed filing a suit to challenge the cruel treatment to the artisans whose plight, he said the government was working tirelessly on to promote the policy implementation.

AljazirahNigeria made a call to an official of AA Rano group who begged for anonymity said the issue was before the court. The senior official promised to link our correspondent with the company’s lawyers.

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A visit to the company office in Jos could only refer correspondent to either Abuja or Kano head offices as an insider revealed that such issues are handled by the company’s legal team whose contact was not disclosed.

There were hesitations when AljazirahNigeria visited the demolition site. Aggrieved natives were seen discussing the matter in hush tones.

Meanwhile, a lawyer to Ephod Communication limited, one of NASSI accredited members, Barr. Gideon Ngwen, has filed a suit at the Magistrate Court, Jos and asked the court to order the police investigation into the matter.