BUA Group, one of Nigeria’s biggest business conglomerates, says Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, is aiding Dangote group to monopolise the Nigerian cement industry and market.
This is contained in an open letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari by Abdulsamad Rabiu, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BUA Group.
Both Rabiu and Aliko Dangote, owner of Dangote Group, are from Kano State in the North West.
In the 10-page letter dated December 4, 2017, Rabiu accused “the Honourable Minister of Mines & Steel Development”, and “Dangote Group and their cohorts” of “undermining peace and security in Edo State and operations in and around our BUA Cement Okpella Plant,” following a dispute on a mining field that BUA claims originally belongs to it.
“Our cement business has of late come under intense, consistent attacks — physical and otherwise — as the Minister, Dangote Group and their Cohorts have sought to employ instruments of state and other illegal tactics to forcefully wrest control of our Mining Areas related to Mining Leases ML 18912 and 18913 … being held and operated by BUA at Obu-Okpella, Etsako East Local Government Area, Edo State.
“These actions are despite the existence of Suit No FHC/B/CS/7/2016 between BUA & Anor v. Honourable Minister of Mines &Steel Development and Suit No. FHC/B/CS/74/2016 between Dangote Industries Ltd v. BUA International Ltd before Honourable Justice Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Benin Judicial Division.
“The Minister, officials of the Ministry, Dangote Group and their cohorts have however acted with impunity and displayed unbridled contempt for the judiciary by taking extrajudicial steps to frustrate the matter in court.
“Dangote Group has recruited private militia to unleash mayhem in Okpella as part of strategies to forcefully take over possession and in the process damage the multi-billion dollar cement factory of BUA at Okpella, Edo State.”
“On 8th November, 2017 Dangote Cement directed its Chief Security Officer, Col Ahmed Yabagi (Rtd) to enter without permission BUA’s mining areas in company of some Okpella youths led by one Giwa Ibrahim with a view to forcefully take possession of the mining sites, unleash mayhem on the officials of BUA Cement factory and ultimately destroy the properties worth billions of dollars.”
According to the letter, The Ministry of mines and steel eventually stopped operations at the BUA cement plant on November 29, after a team of over 20 fully armed policemen, raided the plant, led by one Tunde Moboyo, a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
“Your Excellency sir, We should state that all the actions of Dangote Group with the collusion and connivance of highly placed officials of Government especially the Minister is directed towards destroying the business of BUA Cement with the ultimate goal of creating a monopoly in the cement industry in Nigeria and control the entire cement industry and market in the country,” the statement read.
“This with due respect should not be allowed in a democracy and a free market. Allowing such eventual monopoly is not only inimical to the growth of the cement industry and its attendant effect on the cost of construction and housing delivery to the mass of Nigerians, but also the economic well being of the Nation as a whole.
“It is also very worrisome that Dangote Group with all its visibility and international reputation is displaying an utter lack of respect for and trust in the Nigerian judiciary.”
Furthermore, BUA group accused Fayemi of “corruption, cronyism and impunity”, hence his display of blatant disregard for the rule of law.
“Why is the Minister supportive of Dangote Group who has no single cement factory in Edo State over BUA who took over a factory that has been in existence for almost forty years and went further to set up a new plant of over one billion dollars?
“Why will a serving minister choose to undermine the government by disregarding ongoing court processes rather than let the rule of law run its course?
“The answer to all the questions above is simple: corruption, cronyism and impunity in high places.
“Fortunately, Nigerians know your stand against corruption and impunity but it is also very clear that if nothing is done, despite us pursuing all legal means available, Dangote Group will have sent a negative message about Nigeria to the world that he and his cronies are above the rule of law in Nigeria and no one or business entity is safe from their blatant acts of impunity.”