Kano Rice Company Denies Detaining 126 Nigerian Workers as Forced Labour

*Map of Kano State...

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By Segun Ade
Management of Popular Farms and Mills Ltd,a Kano based Indian owned company has  decried the recent reports about alleged confinement of employees and forcing them to work during the Corona virus lockdown in Kano.
METROWATCH reports that the Police in Kano last week rescued over 126 workers of the Rice farms company held hostage and forced to hard labour for three months, during the corona virus lockdown imposed by state Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to stem the spread of the dreaded virus.
The management said on the contrary,  Labour Contractors, whose people work in the Rice Mill, pleaded with the company to allow contractual labourers to stay within the premises of the company during the lockdown.
Mr. Saka Kareem, Administrative Manager of the company, said that the news was completely baseless and malicious and was being stoked by perpetrators to willfully defame the company for their vested interests.
“It is sad to see such abuse of media by some with ulterior motives and undermining the good work done by the organization to alleviate the circumstances of COVID- 19 in Kano.
The hygiene measures adopted including weekly fumigation and disinfestation, and other facilities at the Organization are a testimony to the fact that there is zero COVID-19 case within company staff including contractual workers over the last three months despite a very challenging situation outside the company premises,”  he said.
He added that all workers living in the premises were provided with toiletries, feeding allowances and monthly appreciation bonus in addition to the contractual payments as agreed.
“Company Staff not being able to come to work due to the pandemic or due to adherence to the guidelines were paid due salaries while at home.
He said the workers who are alleged to have been rescued from the rice mill are still working there and pleading with the company to be allowed to still stay within the premises,” he noted.
He added that as part of its social responsibility, the company pledged free rice for three months to hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 care in Nigeria.
“Twenty five State hospitals across 15 states in Nigeria were beneficiaries of the relief execution programme. The organization is also proud to be involved in Rice supply to the Presidential Scheme and to Red Cross for the displaced people,” he said.
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