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Despite police raid, Kano rice mill still operational

Despite the police raid on Popular Rice Mill in Kano on Monday, where 126 labourers were rescued, the factory remains operational, Daily Trust reports.

This is even as some of the rescued labourers, who resumed work on Wednesday, alleged that they were turned back, while only a few of them were allowed to continue work in the factory.

However, an official of the factory, Hassan Sufi, told Daily Trust that the allegation was untrue, adding that the company was not shut following the police operation.

The labourers, who were rescued after being locked up in the factory for over three months, said that some of their colleagues were at the company yesterday morning, but were not allowed entry.

“After keeping us in the company’s captivity for almost three months working day-and-night and without paying us our entitlements, we were evacuated on Monday by the police.

“Some of us went back in the morning to resume work, but the company denied us entrance”, said Alhaji Yahaya, one of the labourers.

He also alleged that the company failed to fulfil its promise of paying them an additional N5,000 on a weekly basis since they were locked up.

Another evacuated staff, Mukhtar Abubakar, expressed fears that they could be sacked, alleging that the company was insisting on reinstating only about 20 of them.

But the official of the factory told Daily Trust that all the allegations were not true.

“Our company was never shut down even when the police invaded our premises and evacuated some staff on Monday.

“Our door has been open and normal production still continues, nothing stopped,” Sufi said.

“As I speak to you now (Wednesday afternoon), productions took place in the morning and those in the afternoon routine have taken over, and when they are done, those in the evening turn will take over.

“In fact, even on that Monday that the story was widely reported, we worked throughout the night.

“I don’t know who said the company was closed by the police.

“It wasn’t true,” he added.

Kano Police Spokesman, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, told Daily Trust that the company was free to operate since the operatives that rescued the labourers did not shut down the factory.

He, however, added that investigation was in progress and the result would be made public once concluded.

Meanwhile, the Kano-based human rights group that reported the case to the police, Global Human Rights Network, said it will do everything possible to make sure that the rescued labourers are paid all their entitlements.

“We will make sure that none of these staff is sacked by the company”, Karibu Yahaya Lawan, the coordinator of the group told Daily Trust.

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