BUA engaging in illegal mining on my site –Dangote - Welcome to Uju Ayalogu's Blog

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Monday, 18 December 2017

BUA engaging in illegal mining on my site –Dangote

BUA engaging in illegal mining on my site –Dangote

Abdulsamad: No, you’re plotting to run me out of business

The controversies over the real ownership of the Mining Lease No. 2541, located in a boundary town of Oguda/ Ubo in Okene, Kogi State, between BUA Group and the Dangote Group worsened at the weekend.

The management of Dangote Group accused BUA of engaging in stealing and illegal mining on its property. But, the management of BUA International Limited denied the allegation. It,of plotting to “out-muscle BUA out of business.”

Dangote Group is owned by Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote while BUA is owned by billionaire, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu. Dangote Group’s Executive Director, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said rather than engaging in illegality and stealing, BUA Group should have waited for the outcome of the matter currently ongoing at the Federal High Court, Benin Division, in Edo State.

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Dangote explained that his company had validly acquired interest and mining title in the disputed Mining Lease from AICO Ado Ibrahim & Company Ltd. sometimes in 2014. “AICO itself had applied to the Mining Cadastre Office and Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for the said Mining Lease No. 2541 in 2007.

The ministry in exercise of its power under the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 granted and issued to AICO ML. No. 2541 for the renewable period of 25 years effective from 1st February 2008 and to expire on 31 January, 2033. Thus AICO by virtue of the said grant, became vested with the legal title over ML. No. 2541.

“In 2014, the Dangote Group approached AICO and indicated interest in acquiring its stake in ML No. 2541, and in exercise of its right under the Mining Act, AICO applied to the Ministry for the transfer of its title to Dangote Group. AICO and Dangote Group equally paid all the transfer and statutory fees demanded by the Ministry,” Edwin explained.

He added that: “By a letter dated February 5, 2016, the ministry wrote to the Managing Director of the Dangote Group to convey the approval of the ministry for the Transfer/Assignment of ML No. 2541 from AICO to Dangote Group with effect from February 3, 2016.

Thus, following the successful transfer of ML. NO. 2541 to Dangote Group, the Group became the holder of the Mining Lease No. 2541.” He said even BUA in its process in court acknowledged that these illegal mining leases which it claimed were granted in 1997 were temporary mining leases.

Edwin further revealed that it was the attempt by BUA to encroach on AICO’s mining title in Mining Lease No. 2541 that prompted AICO to write to the Ministry in 2015 complaining of BUA’s encroachment.

He said: “The ministry after investigation in the same 2015 by the letter dated January 21, 2015 wrote to the Chairman of BUA Group directing BUA to stop mining within the ML. No. 2541. It was this same letter from the ministry that prompted BUA to file a suit at the Federal High Court, Benin in 2016.

“It is therefore appalling that BUA Group in the midst of these overwhelming facts will still want the public to believe that Dangote Group is after its business when in actual fact BUA has been the one mining illegally in Dangote Mining Lease and attacking its officials without any justification.

“The crocodile tears being shed by BUA in its cry for help and open letter to the President is most laughable and a total distraction from BUA’s continuous illegal activities within Dangote’s ML 2541 aimed at depleting and exhausting the limestone reserves in order to sabotage Dangote Group’s legitimate investment.”

In its reaction, the BUA management through the Group Head, Corporate Communications, Otega Ogra, denied all allegations levelled against it by Dangote. BUA stated that its operations are in Obu, Okpella, Edo State and not Okene Kogi.

BUA said: “This latest statement by Dangote Group stinks of desperation in its continued attempt to disregard the judicial process and scheme a viable competitor out of business as has been their legendary antecedent.

“We wish to reiterate once again that whilst we do not want to join issues with anyone on this matter as it is currently before a court of competent jurisdiction, we are however compelled to use the opportunity presented by Edwin Devakumar’s reckless statements to clarify the cycle of misinformation being proliferated.

“In specific response to Edwin Devakumar of Dangote Group’s claim of BUA operating on ML2541 in Okene, Kogi State, we wish to restate that BUA does not have any operations whatsoever in Okene, Kogi State where the purported ML2541 is situated.

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“Our mining operations are limited to Obu-Okpella, Edo State for which licenses ML18912 & 18913 were issued and revalidate by the same ministry in a publication.

These licenses have been owned, operated and fulfilled by BUA and its predecessors-in-title since 1976 as it is also a notorious fact that we have exercised total control and possession over the mining area covered by the above mining leases since 1976 when we operated under the name of Bendel Cement Company Limited.

“We also wish to ask – Why is Dangote, an international company which is also listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, so averse to letting the rule of the law and judicial process take its course?

The court has maintained that status quo be maintained (This includes BUA’s current ownership of our mines in Edo State) but the management of Dangote Group Dangote, as has been their strategy in the past to other companies in competition with them, is still seeking to out-muscle competition through backdoor means rather than let the court decide.

“If anyone is not satisfied, they should write to the courts as an independent arbiter for an interpretation of “maintaining status quo” rather than spread misinformation in the court of public opinion.”

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