Mr. Saka Kareem, Administrative Manager Popular Farms, told reporters on Sunday in Kano that this news is completely baseless and false and is 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 are ZERO COVID-19 case within company staffs including of contractual workers over the last three months despite a very challenging situation outside the company premises.
Mr. Saka Kareem disclosed that labor contractors, whose people work in the Rice Mill, pleaded with the company to allow contractual labor to stay within the premises of the company during the lockdown.
“All workers living in the premises were provided with the provisions of toiletries, feeding allowances and monthly appreciation bonus in addition to the contractual payments as agreed. Company Staff not been able to come to work due to pandemic or due to adherence to the guidelines were paid due salaries while at home.
“The workers who are alleged to have been rescued from the rice mill are presently and still working in the Rice Mill and pleading with the company to be allowed to still stay within the premises” concluded Mr Kareem Saka.
According to him, the employees and workers were never unlawfully restricted against their will. They were free to go visit their families and on their return were kept in isolation for 14 days before resuming work in line with the safety guidelines. The isolation set up was also made inside and outside the mill premises with complete basic facilities including designated areas for stay, ablution prayers etc. The feeding allowances of N500 naira per day in addition to salary is also provided by the company during such isolation and quarantine period and there were no pay cuts.
Recall that Popular Farms and Mills Limited has been pushing forward the agenda of opportunity, sufficiency & security in Nigeria by entering into a partnership with over 1,000 cooperative groups, having direct access to more than 40,000 member-farmers for increasing the rice and sesame production and developing agro business in Northern Nigeria.