Limestone mining war: Dangote moves battle to court

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…BUA to accept judicial outcome, continues mining on MLs

By Samuel Ibiyemi

Dangote Cement Plc has moved battle field over the disputed mining leases at border town of Kogi State to court with the promise to accept court verdict.
The decision of Dangote Cement was received as a welcome development by BUA International.

This follows a press release sent by Dangote Cement and posted on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday. The management of BUA International had insisted on court resolution following allegations of illegal mining by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

Dangote in the release stated that the ongoing suits shall be resolved by the courts in accordance with their role under the Constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

The details of the cases are stated below, and may be tracked for further reference:

.  Suit No. FHC/B/CS/7/2016

BUA International Limited & BUA Cement vs. Hon. Minister of Mines & Steel Development and

Dangote Cement Plc. (holding at the Benin Judicial Division).

.  Suit No. FHC/LKJ/CS/25/2017

HRH AlMohammed Otaru Adeika & 4 Others vs. Aico Ado Ibrahim & Co. Ltd and the Federal  Ministry of Mines & Steel Development ( holding at the Lokoja Judicial Division) Dangote Cement Plc. (DANGCEM, “DCP), Africa’s largest cement producer,  claimed in the release that there were several misleading media publications on the issue of dispute.

One of which was captioned “ A Cry for Help: Wanton Abuse of Power by a Serving Minister Geared  at Sabotaging Operations BUA Cement”; wherein BUA International Limited (“BUA”) alleged an abuse of power by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (“Ministry”) for the benefit of DCP, and made other unwarranted and unfounded claims.

“DCP hereby confirm that the issues being raised are subject of litigating by several parties,”.

Group Head, Corporate Communications of BUA Group in response said:

“BUA International Limited, owners of BUA Cement, heartily welcomes the resolve by Dangote Cement Plc to await the outcome of the courts in their corporate disclosure published on the Nigerian Stock Exchange website dated 20 December, 2017 and titled, “DANGOTE CEMENT – RESPONSE TO BUA ALLEGATIONS”.

This, he said is in line with what BUA has always insisted. “”We appreciate the decision to wait for a judicial outcome rather than resorting to self-help and/or using influence and certain agencies of government in disrupting operations at some of BUA’s mining areas covered by ML18912 and ML18913 in Obu, Okpella, Edo State.”

Otega clarified that “with respect to the statement by the Ministry of Mines published in Punch Newspapers of December 8, 2017 and alluded to by Dangote Cement Plc in its statement, BUA wishes to state that we have responded to the ministry through our lawyers and via other media.

He added : “BUA remains resolute and unequivocal about its stand that ‘Status Quo be preserved’ as instructed by the Federal High Court sitting in Benin in Suit No. FHC/B/CS/7/2016 BUA International Limited & BUA Cement vs. Hon. Minister of Mines & Steel Development and Dangote Cement Plc.”

For the purpose of clarity,  he noted that this means that BUA remains in possession of the Mining Areas covered by Mining Leases 18912 and 18913 in Obu, Okpella, Edo State and will continue to exercise its rights to operate those mines in line with the dictates of the courts.

“If anyone or any stakeholder (especially the Ministry) remains in doubt as to what ‘Status Quo’ means in this case, they are free to write to the courts for an interpretation, “he suggested.

He noted that BUA also affirmed that it fully intends to abide by the outcomes of the judicial process as provided by the laws and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Otega added:””BUA also hopes that with the statement by Dangote Cement Plc, this will put an end to the continued cycle of harassment or clandestine moves by certain stakeholders to usurp the powers of the courts and disrupt operations at our site in a clear disregard of existing court directives. BUA therefore enjoins and urges all stakeholders involved – not limited to the Edo State Government, the Ministry of Mines and Steel and other parties – to also await the outcome of the judicial process in the interest of a competitive business climate governed by the rule of law in Nigeria.”

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