Consolidated Ebonyi Quarry Owners Association, has shot down its operation following the arrest of its chairman Chief Chikaodiri Ojemba.
According to findings, Ojemba was arrested on Saturday by police on the instruction of an agent company over his refusal to remit government money into a private account.
Speaking to our Correspondent on Wednesday, at the quarry site Ezillo in Ishielu local government area of the State, Mr Mbam Sunday, told our reporter that they are not ready to function until their chairman is released unhurt.
According to him, their interest is to support Governor Francis Nwifuru achieve his heart desires of lifting the State out of poverty and as such, will not allow any individual to defraud the State of its generated revenue from the mining site.
Also, Emeka Nwodom, who also frowned at the unlawful arrest and detention of their chairman by the Agent company called on Ebonyi State Governor Francis Nwifuru, to intervene and facilitate the release of their chairman who was unlawfully arrested.
According to him, quarry owners will never allow the imposition of Agents in their mining sites.
“Quarry is a solid mineral in the exclusive list of federal government and as such, we cannot accept any imposition of Agents.
“Our chairman called us for a meeting and there we resolved that we shall not by any means, pay our money to any individual account but to the Government account only, so that our government will get exactly the amount of money generated from the mining site but regrettably, on Saturday, we heard that our chairman was arrested by the Agent company that has been forcing themselves on us maybe because it is owned by a highly place person in the Southeast, they want to intimidate us.
” I want to assure these people to be ready to arrest more because we from Ebonyi are ready to sacrifice everything to see our State money is not transferred to anyone’s account.
” As you can see, we are not operating today because we don’t know the way about of chairman if he is alive or not and we shall not operate until we see our chairman ” he said
He then called on Governor Chief Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, to intervene for the growth and good of the state which he is putting every effort to rebuild.”
However, efforts to reach the agent company allegedly owned by an Anambra business mogul, Arthur Eze, was not fruitful.
When contacted, the Special Assistant to Governor on Solid Mineral, Chief David Ajah, urged the quarry dealers to be calm promising that Governor Francis Nwifuru would attend to their problem.
” whoever arrests their chairman will release him because our Governor is not a crisis Governor. I want to urge them to embrace peaceful dialogue to settle the crisis rather than shutting down the business operation which will affect the economy of the State.”