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Taraba Communities kick As Gov. Ishaku Moves To Privatize Highland Tea


Taraba Communities kick As Gov. Ishaku Moves To Privatize Highland Tea

The communities housing the Mambilla Beverages limited, producer of the famous Highland tea in Taraba state have kicked against Governor Darius Ishaku and the state government’s move to privatize the company.

In a press statement issued to journalists in Jalingo by the host communities and signed by the chairman, Abdullahi Abdulkarim and secretary, Usman Laido, the communities expressed that the move was to kick out the host communities from enjoying any benefit from the company.

The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the news publications titled, Taraba moves to privatise Mambilla Beverages limited, which according to the chief executive officer (CEO) Taraba investment and property limited Mr. Iliya Ezekiel, the state government has commenced sensitisation of the 10 host communities on plans to privatise the multi-billion naira Mambilla Beverages Limited.

“To put the record straight, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Taraba Investment and property Limited Mr Iliya Ezekiel was in Kakara when he met the host communities who were demonstrating in front of the company’s headquarters in Kakara against the Taraba State Government on the 30th June, 2022. When he came and pleaded with the protestant for discussion at the Mbondna Kamkam palace in Kakara, Sadauna local government area of the state.

“The CEO pleaded with the protestants to put it on hold pending the outcome of their discussion with the State Governor or when the host communities fully understand the full benefit as canvassed by the MD.

“We want to state here categorically that, no member of the host communities welcome the idea of the privatization and are happy with anything about the so-called privatization.

“After the meeting at the Mondua’s palace, no further discussion was canvassed anywhere and we are still waiting for the governor to respond.

“If the government wants to privatize the Lipton Tea in order to improve profitability, productivity efficiency and Job opportunity for the benefit of Tarabans, Maisamari would have been a good example under this administration since it is privately owned.

“We have watched the pretences of this government regarding the management of Mambilla Beverage company limited in the last 7 years under the leadership of Mr. Iliaya Ezekiel the MD. (C.E.O) Taraba Investment Property Limited in charge of employing the top management of the Mambilla Beverages Ltd and the administrative management of the company and he only employed the kinsmen of the Governor.

“The top management in return hand pick their kinsmen in positions considered lucrative. The evidence are there, go to any of the branch offices across the country and the headquarters. The only thing remaining for him to do is to formalise handover to be his personal property and call it privatization.

“The only position exclusively reserved for host communities is labourer job on daily pay or plucking of tea leaves that goes for as low as N20 per kg in 14 days.

“For those who work hard for 14 days pluck 400 kg, that goes for N6,000 and you must belong to the government party i.e PDP before you get employed as labourer or tea leaves pluckers and you must not criticize policies of the government.

“In all this Mambilla Beverages company limited remains the most productive, profitable, and efficient in service delivery and job opportunities for the benefit Of Tarabans because it’s the highest in terms of employment in Taraba state after state government.

“If the government wants to privatize in order to improve profitability, productivity efficiency and job opportunity for the benefit of Tarabans they should privatise the following assets which Tarabans have forgotten about their existences. They should privatize the multi-billion naira Green house Jalingo, Kurmi timber factory, Taraba Motel Jalingo, Jalingo new market, Cassava industry, Gassol rice mills and others.

“Mambilla Beverages Company limited does not need privatization or commercialization and we stand to say no to that.

“We want the government to rather employ competent hands to man the affairs of the company and treat the host communities equally as human beings and pay them living wages.”

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