Obajana Cement: Group chides Dangote Company over plot to destabilize Kogi

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The management of Dangote Cement has been accised of plotting to disrupt the peace and security in Kogi State over the government’s insistence to recover its shares in the company.

The group, a Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) said Dangote failed to address issues raised by the Kogi State government.

The group’s Secretary-General, Comrade Musa Attah alleged that the company has resorted to name-calling and underarm tactics ultimately causing turmoil and threat to the security.

Attah who spoke at a press conference, said: “The absurd has been playing out since the Kogi State Government recently sealed the cement company in Obajana, Kogi state. The company was originally Obajana Cement Company Plc but then renamed Dangote Cement Company Plc, and its ownership is at the centre of the ongoing contention between the state and Dangote Industries.

“Let us state from the onset that we are shocked that rather than addressing the weighty issues contained in the documents that the Kogi State Government has released to the public, Dangote Industries rather resorted to name-calling and underarm tactics. The worrisome component of this underarm tactics is that Dangote Industries is yet to satisfactorily refute the claims by the Kogi state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kingsley Femi Fanwo, that the company held a clandestine meeting at which it plotted to sabotage the state using federal might.

“The dangerous plot includes actions to disrupt the peace and destabilize Kogi State over the insistence of the state to recover its shares in the company. These planned activities by the Dangote Group of Company will have far reaching effects. Considering that the plan of using Dangote trucks to block the flow of traffic for instance would hamper recovery from the fuel shortages caused by the disruptions from the flooding of road that had prevented haulage of petrol.

“Dangote Industries has been peddling stories that suggest that its operation in Obajana was the product of a mob action sanctioned by the Kogi State Government. But we have discovered that there were fora, including a public hearing and a judicial commission of inquiry into the conduct of public officers in Kogi state between May 29, 2003, and January 27 2016. Liman Salihu Esq. was counsel for Dangote Cement plc/Obajana Cement Company at the inquiry. The report of that inquiry, which found evidence of shady dealings, recommended the constitution of a specialized technical committee to evaluate the entire transaction on Obajana Cement Company Limited.

“The resulting Specialized Technical Committee on the Evaluation of the Legality of the Alleged Acquisition of Obajana Cement Company Plc by Dangote Cement Company Limited concluded that the transfer of Obajana Cement Company Plc to Dangote Industries Limited was invalid, null, and void. That Committee’s report went on to ask the Kogi State Government to take steps to recover Obajana Cement Company Plc now changed to Dangote Cement Company Plc situated in Obajana Kogi state. It further recommended that the state government should recover all accrued dividends with interest while canceling existing Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued to Dangote Industries.

“We noted the several criminal behaviour of Dangote Industries, which is not surprising knowing that this is the modus operandi of this criminal enterprise in all the sectors in which it plays and across all the jurisdiction where it operates. This unwholesome behaviour includes securing tax holiday from a past administration in Kogi state when in reality a state government cannot grant such waiver as this the prerogative of the Federal Government. Dangote Industries obtained loans to the tune of N63 billion using the C of O of Obajana Cement Company, then tried to obtain a fresh C of O (one that would merge three existing C of O that it has already used as collaterals). To put this in perspective, a fresh C of O would have left the lending banks holding on to worthless papers while the Kogi state government would have lost all claims to the stolen cement company.

“So desperate is Dangote Industries that even its application for the new C of O was adjudged to have not followed due process especially when it is also glaring that state government retains the right to mineral sites that it is mining raw materials for cement manufacturing from”.

The group, therefore, advised the company to “halt further attacks on the people and government of Kogi”, adding that if the company thinks that it has a claim to Obajana Cement Company plc, in spite of the documents released by the state government, it should go to court.

“We warn that on no account should Dangote trucks obstruct traffic flow in any part of Kogi state. Even if any of its truck suffers a malfunction it must tow it to a conducive location within 30 minutes in order not to cause a gridlock. In addition to resolving the ownership issue and reclaiming unpaid dividends owed the people, we urge the Kogi State government to use the window of the ongoing crisis to identify and address other issues for which Dangote Industries must be held to regulatory account. This includes matters like damage to the environment and taking responsibility for the health damage its operations might have caused residents of communities that are contiguous to its operations.

“We advise other states where Dangote Industries operate to urgently review transactions entered into with the company by their past administration so that they can remedy any identified lapses since the company has proven to be addicted to policy manipulation and government capture.

“We urge the Federal Government to take steps to restore citizens’ confidence and prove that Dangote Industries does not own Nigeria as the company’s officials were captured on tape as saying at the meeting where they plotted to sabotage Kogi state and by extension the whole of Nigeria.

“We urge the people of Kogi State to unite along party, ethnic and sectarian lines to support their government in addressing the excesses of a monster that has too often made their state a killing field in its pursuit of profit”.

The CGGT, however, vowed to continue to monitor the development in Kogi state and will respond as necessary.

It warned that should “Dangote Industry continue its acts of aggression against the people and government of Kogi sate, we shall start campaign for Nigerians to boycott the company’s products and also target organizations that use its products as raw materials”.

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