Indigenes of a community in Ikot Abasi, on Tuesday blocked the entrance to UC Rusal-Alscon aluminium smelter plant over its refusal to hire local workers.
Members of the local community complained that the company had marginalised indigenes of the state working in the plant while arguing that their operational area quota was not respected by the firm.
Residents of the local community forcefully took a staff bus conveying employees and used the vehicle to block access to the factory forcing employees and visitors to abort their trips and return home.
A petition to the managing director signed by Messrs Aniefiok James, Ekwere Genesis, Linus Usen and Emmanuel Jumbo on behalf of Akwa Ibom Concerned Citizens(AICC) had urged the firm to ensure that members of the community would be considered for jobs at the plant.
However, an official of the firm who pled anonymity dismissed the allegations of marginalisation of indigenes from Akwa Ibom in the plant.
According to him: “Out of six Nigerian directors in UC RUSAL ALSCON , four are from Akwa Ibom, this development shows that it is the non-indigenes that are really marginalised.It therefore shows that the management of the company is sensitive, the community protesters are being sentimental but when you look at the facts, the truth becomes evident.”
Currently the smelter company is among several companies under the spotlight over accusations of fraud during a privatisation drive. Other companies in the spotlight are Delta Steel Complex, DSC, Alaja and the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Itakpe. The inquest into questionable sell-offs by the Bureau of Public Enterprises
(BPE) is being carried out by an Ad Hoc Committee set up by the Senate.
ALSCON in Akwa Ibom state was built at a cost of $3.2 billion but was sold to a Russian company for $130 million.