The management of Dangote Industries Limited has again vehemently rejected the many assertions of BUA Group on its claim to being the rightful owner of Mining Lease No 2541.
Dangote in a statement thursday revealed that its reaction became 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 is and remains a responsible corporate citizen Faulting BUAâ€™s fraudulent claim that the Dangote Group was trying to monopolise the Cement business in the country, the group said 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 further stated: â€œFirst 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 April 27, 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.â€
Dangote said BUA that is now using the media to cause confusion, applied for a mining lease over the same area in 2013 but the application was rejected by the Ministry on the sole ground that it overlaps ML. 2541 which at the time belonged to AICO.
â€œIf 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,â€ the statement queried.
Dangote, while debunking the claim by BUA that it is trying to monopolise the cement business stated: â€œIt 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 Ibeseâ€
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 â€œâ€¦Has been the one in possession of the mining lease since 2016 and this was recently confirmed by the Kogi State High Courtâ€™s judgment delivered on 27 October 2017 in charge number:
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 Groupâ€™s officials and workers in the Mining Lease No. 2541. The imprisonment of BUA Chief Security Officer amongst other things has confirmed that the claim by the BUA Group that it has been in possession is totally fallacious.â€
Responding, BUA Group again restated its belief in the judiciary, insisting that the mining dispute will not and cannot be solved on the pages of the newspapers but only in the court of law.
A statement by the Group Head, Corporate Communications, Oâ€™tega Ogra, urged Dangote Group and anyone who faults the courtâ€™s pronouncement to preserve status quo to write to the courts for an interpretation.
â€œThe court made a pronouncement and Dangoteâ€™s lawyers cannot deny knowledge of that. The onus is not on us, as they have wrongly alleged to provide an order of the court but rather they should seek an interpretation from the courts if they so wish.
â€œTo further reiterate the courtâ€™s pronouncement as to maintaining status quo, on December 5, 2017, counsel of BUA raised the issue of the encroachment by the ministry and Dangote in its mining areas covered by ML18912 and ML18913 at the courts. When this matter was raised, counsel to Dangote and the Minister of Mines promptly apologised and they were thereafter cautioned by the courts that once a matter is before a court, no party should take any step that will affect the subject matter of the court.
â€œIn any case, we wish to reassert that this issue will not be resolved on the pages of newspapers or through a barrage of misinformation but rather, through the courts. While we are now aware that Dangote Group will stop at nothing to keep pushing these false narratives as well as keep distracting from the core issue at hand, we once again enjoin Dangote Group and their cohorts to await respectfully, the outcome of the judicial process.â€