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Dangote, BUA’s Fight Get Messier over Mining Right

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There seems to be no end in sight in the crisis between the managements of Dangote Group and BUA Group over the mining rights in Edo State, according to New Telegraph.

 

The management of Dangote Industries Limited has, again, vehemently accused BUA Group of making untrue assertions against it. Dangote said that BUA was being dubious in claiming to be the rightful owner of Mining Lease No 2541.

 

The two companies, who had, on Wednesday, agreed to wait for a judicial outcome rather than resorting to self-help and/or using influence and agencies of government in disrupting operations at disputed mining areas in Edo State, yesterday, resumed the media war and continued to throw tirades at each other.

 

While Dangote, in a statement made available revealed that its reaction became very necessary as a result of its status as a publicly quoted company and to further re-assure its shareholders, the regulators and members of the public that the company was and remained a responsible corporate citizen, BUA said it was worried by Dangote Group’s penchant for seeking to further its the cycle of misinformation over the dispute through falsehoods and bigger lies.

 

Dangote is owned by Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote while BUA is owned by billionaire, Alhaji Abdusamad Rabiu.

Alhaji Abdusamad Rabiu.

 

The Federal Government had, on Tuesday, ordered the shutdown of the mining site over the crisis. Faulting BUA’s claim that the Dangote Group was trying to monopolize the cement business in the country, Dangote said that BUA has willfully, deliberately and mischievously concealed the fact that it has at least 12 Mining/ Quarry Leases within and around the area in question as opposed to this sole Mining Lease No 2541 owned by the Dangote Group.

 

Dangote said: “First and foremost, there is no Status Quo Order made by any court that allows BUA to continue mining over the disputed mining lease area.

 

In fact, there is no status quo order at all. It is critical for us to point out that there is currently pending, a Motion for Interlocutory Injunction dated 27 April 2016, seeking to restrain the BUA Group from continuing with its illegal mining activities on the Mining Lease Area.

 

But in spite of having been served with this application and contrary to all tenets of the law which forbid a party served with an Interlocutory Injunction Motion from taking any step in respect of the subject matter of the suit, the BUA Group has, in utter disdain to the court, continued with its illegal mining activities.” Dangote said BUA applied for a Mining Lease over the same area in 2013, but the application was rejected by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel on the sole ground that it overlaps ML. 2541, which, at the time, belonged to AICO. “If BUA had title that dates back to 1998, is there any conceivable reason why it will apply for the same title over the same area in 2013?” the statement queried.

 

Dangote added: “It is misleading for BUA to falsely accuse Dangote of undermining its operations and attempting to create a monopoly in the cement industry in Nigeria, as we have always coexisted peacefully with other competitors in Obajana and Ibese.”

 

The claim by BUA that it has always been in possession of the disputed mining lease was also faulted by Dangote Group, as it affirmed that the Group “…has been the one in possession of the Mining Lease since 2016 and this was recently confirmed by the Kogi State High Court’s judgement delivered on 27 October 2017 in Charge No. HCL/65C/2017: State v. Joshua Oghene, Hon. Haruna Afegbua and Bulus Golit which sentenced the Chief Security Officer of BUA Group, Mr. Bulus Golit to one year imprisonment without any option of fine, for attacking Dangote Group’s officials and workers in the Mining Lease No. 2541.

 

“The imprisonment of BUA’s Chief Security Officer, amongst other things, has confirmed that the claim by the BUA Group that it has been in possession is totally fallacious.” But in a reaction, BUA noted that it viewed attempts by the Dangote Group to play to the gallery in the dispute over the Mining Areas covered by Mining Leases ML18912 and ML18913. In a statement released by its management, the company said that it has never laid claim to ML2541 “as our operations covered by ML18912 and ML18913 are in Obu, Okpella, Edo State and not Okene, Kogi State, where Dangote’s license 2541 is sited.”

 

“As Dangote has asserted, BUA’s licenses for ML18912 and 18913 were issued in 1997 and their ML2541 issued in 2016 (AICO, his predecessorin- title, claims to have received his in 2008). How can they then claim to be in possession when even their predecessor-in-title, AICO, was issued his license 10 years after BUA’s licences were issued and two years after the completion and commencement of production at our over $1 billion Obu Cement Factory? “In any event, AICO had instituted a suit at the Federal High Court, Lokoja claiming to assert his title to ML2541. Whilst that was pending, AICO, against all known principles of law, transferred his title to Dangote.

 

It is also worthy of note that Dangote further applied to the courts to assert his rights to ML2541. How can a party who claims to be in possession ask the courts to assert his rights to his licence? “It should also be noted that this is asides the notorious fact that our licence was initially issued in 1976 to Bendel Cement Company, one of our predecessors- in-title. “With reference to Dangote’s claims that we applied for a lease in 2013, to our knowledge, we are not aware of any application of this sort. In any event, it is common knowledge that participants in the mining industry continuously apply for mining rights on a regular basis and if/when we were made aware of such, we discontinued such a process.

 

“To further buttress our point, the Nigerian Boundary Commission’s report of 2006 clearly states that Obu, Okpella is in Edo State and not Kogi State. Even as recent as July 2017, the ministry confirmed, through a letter to BUA, our right to possession of licences ML18912 and ML18913 up till 2017.

 

“Isn’t it rather strange that Dangote who claims to have acquired Mining Lease 2541 from AICO in 2015, now seeks to interfere with BUA’s mining rights in ML 18912 and ML 18913 in Obu, Okpella in Edo State? It is also instructive to state that Dangote has, on several occasions, attempted to obtain injunctive reliefs from the Federal High Court, Benin, Edo State, in the course of the pending litigation, but the court declined making such injunctive Orders because whilst Dangote claims right to Mining Lease 2541 located in Okene, Kogi State, BUA claims right to Mining Leases 18912 and 18913 located in Obu, Okpella, Edo State. “Dangote has now resorted to using other means to achieve what it could not legally achieve in a court proceeding before a court of competent jurisdiction.”


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NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

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Tonye Jaja, chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life by agents of John Asein, director general of the agency.

NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

He disclosed that an unnamed member of the NCC Governing Board had threatened his life through phone calls and SMS messages.

The Board Chairman, who made the claim in a statement, titled: “Notification of threats to my life and reputation in the line of duty as chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,” ‎said the development followed statements he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission as part of ongoing investigations into allegations against Asein. ‎

According to Jaja, Asein is being investigated over alleged conflict of interest and abuse of office, among other offences.

The chairman of the NCC Governing Board also alleged that Asein and his agents have vowed to destroy his reputation through publications in the media.

The statement read: “Yesterday, I received a verbal threat during a telephone call and an SMS from one member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright (NCC).‎

“In a nutshell, he threatened that he will use online newspapers and other means to disgrace me and rubbish my reputation.

“His annoyance and threats is not an isolated incident, it is part of a coordinated onslaught of threats, publications of propaganda and other acts of reprisal targetted against me in my capacity as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

“The persons behind this have gone to the illegal extent of forging certain documents and leaking government official documents to Online newspapers in their desperate attempts at smearing my hard earned reputation.

“The Office of the Inspector-General of Police is currently investigating one of such incidences.

“All this smear campaign is because I ‎was invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the ICPC as part of their investigation of Mr John Asein the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) whom they are investigating for allegations of conflict of interest and abuse of office, etc.

“‎As a responsible and law-abiding citizen,  who could not disobey the invitation of the ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau, I went to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and deposed to an affidavit to confirm the veracity of the written and oral statements that I submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Instead of these persons to apply the same steps of going before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or any other court of Justice in Nigeria to swear an affidavit and oath on the pain of perjury, in support of any statements they are making, they have resorted to peddling fake news, falsehood and false, unsubstantiated allegations through the pages of online newspapers and other social media platforms.

“In recent times, their anger and onslaught has intensified because their attempts to “kill” and “bury” the investigations proved abortive considering that the ICPC, the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Bureau continued with the investigations which they had previously in an online newspaper described as the petition against Mr. John Asein as jokers.’”

The Governing Board Chairman added that anybody who is sincerely interested in knowing and verifying the truth of the allegations against Asein can make Freedom of Information requests to the Department of State Services, ‎Chairman of the ICPC,‎ Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Inspector-General of Police through the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of the Federal Investigations Bureau.

 


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Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

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Health Plus, a pharmaceutical company, has accused Alta Semper Capital, a foreign private equity firm (PEF), of a fraudulent attempt to take over its business.

Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

In a rejoinder to a press release earlier issued by the PEF, Health Plus dismissed the appointment of Chidi Okoro as chief transformation officer and the claim that Olubukunola Adewunmi George, chief executive officer, remains a director and shareholder

Health Plus stated that it entered into a five-year partnership with Alta Semper Capital in 2018 to inject fresh capital to further grow the business.

George, the rejoinder stated, was prepared to give PEF a controlling stake in order for them to realise their investment.

However, it added, PEF started working of schemes aimed at taking over the business after seeing the vastness of the Nigerian market.

PEF, according to Health Plus, deliberately starved the company of funds, neglected its obligations to the business, appointed Okoro as CTO and was running the company in utter disregard for George’s wishes.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors was said to have resigned two days ago while another director resigned five weeks ago over the debilitating effect of the impasse on the company.

The rejoinder stated that George had, in May 2020, instituted a suit at the Federal High Court (FHC/L/CS/609/2020) seeking to stop HealthPlus Africa Holdings Limited (the investment vehicle used by Alta Semper Capital and which they control) and their nominee directors from continuing to run and manage the company with disregard to her interests as a member of the Company.

After being served the court summons, PEF appealed for a mediation of the crisis outside court, a process frustrated after three meetings in three months.

Alta Semper thereafter filed an arbitration claim in England.

“Alta Semper’s latest actions, including the arbitration claim that it has now filed, constitute a serious affront to the authority of the Court seised of the suit, a desecration of the integrity of the Nigerian judicial system and a gross violation of Nigeria’s extant legislation.

“The General Public, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, our Staff, loyal Customers, Vendors, Landlords, Bankers and all Stakeholders are advised to totally disregard and ignore the earlier unauthorised Press Release from those who have no real stake in the Company, its employees or Nigeria.

“Mrs. Bukky George remains the Founder & CEO of the Company and is focused on preserving and growing this national treasure,” the rejoinder read.

 

 

 


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Labour Vows to Shut Down Airports, Banks, Others from Today

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Organised Labour in Lagos State has said all sectors would be shut from Monday.

Labour Vows to Shut Down Airports, Banks, Others from Today

Amaechi Asogwuni, deputy vice president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), spoke at a news conference on Sunday, said airports, banks, and offices would not be allowed to function.

“No airport will be in operation in Nigeria; banks are not expected to function, so no business owners should risk himself, for Nigerian workers have taken that decision”, NAN quoted him as saying.

“We are the workers and we are withdrawing our services; we have the right to do so because protests are our constitutional right. And I believe we will enforce it; schools shall remain closed until this action ends.”

The labour leader appealed to Nigerians to join the protest.

He reminded them that it was part of their quota to democracy.

On the increase in petrol price, Asogwuni said the federal government should have engaged the organised labour and other stakeholders.

“The government did not do that at a time it ought to; it failed in its duty to engage labour before time. On the issue of electricity, the government had earlier had an interaction with labour in Kano and we discouraged it from proceeding.”


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