Dangote Desperate to Kill Our Business Like Others—BUA Group
By Dipo Olowookere
The management of BUA Group has reacted to a statement released on Monday by Dangote Group alleging that the former was stealing and illegally mining limestone at mining sites in Obu, Okpella, Edo State.
In the statement released later on Monday, BUA Group described Dangote Group’s statement as one which “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.”
It said Dangote Group was scheming plans to ensure BUA Group was out of business like it allegedly did to Ibeto, Polo House Jetty Tincan previously owned by Usman Dantata, and others.
The firm said further that while it does not want to join issues with anyone on the matter because it was currently before a court of competent jurisdiction, it was however compelled to use the opportunity presented by “Edwin Devakumar’s reckless statements to clarify the cycle of misinformation being proliferated.”
BUA Group said, “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.”
“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 licences 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,” the statement explained.
“We are thus wont to excuse Edwin’s claims to a lack of basic knowledge and understanding of the geography of Nigeria but he will be better served if he seeks professional opinion in critically understanding the geography of Nigeria or he should otherwise refer to documents from the boundary commission which clearly delineates boundaries within Nigeria.
“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,” BUA Group advised in the statement.
“The antecedents of Dangote Plc in trying to outmuscle competition are not in doubt. Various cases abound within and outside the cement industry – one of which was their taking over of the limestone deposits of another competing entity in the south-south region of Nigeria until they ceded him 25% of their company.
“This was in turn resold to them for hundreds of millions of dollars. Or is it the case of Ibeto whose business was almost driven under but for the prompt intervention of the then late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Or is it the case of Polo House Jetty Tincan previously owned by Usman Dantata, whose License was revoked by NPA and reallocated to Dangote on the same day in order to prevent a sugar refinery to be sited there by a competitor.
“The facts of the matter as far as we are concerned are that BUA’s operations are in Obu, Okpella, Edo State and not Okene Kogi. We once again ask that all parties should wait for the court to resolve the issue. We will not be cowed or intimidated and will continue to seek redress through the proper legal channels,” the statement said.