The war of words between the Dangote Group and BUA Group continued on Sunday with the former accusing the latter of illegally mining limestone deposited in its Mining Lease No. 2541, located in the boundary town of Oguda/Ubo in Okene, Kogi State.
However, BUA denied the claim and accused Dangote of attempting to disregard the judicial process and scheming a viable competitor out of business.
The Executive Director, Dangote Group, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said in a statement, “The Dangote Group validly acquired its interest and mining title in the disputed Mining Lease No. 2541 from AICO Ado Ibrahim & Company Limited sometime in 2014. AICO itself had applied to the Mining Cadastre Office and Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for the said Mining Lease No. 2541 located in a boundary town of Oguda/Ubo in Okene Kogi State in 2007.
“The ministry, in exercise of its power under the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, granted and issued to AICO Mining Lease No. 2541 for the renewable period of 25 years effective from 1st of February, 2008 and to expire on 31st of January, 2033. Thus AICO by virtue of the said grant, became vested with the legal title over Mining Lease No. 2541. In 2014, the Dangote Group approached AICO and indicated interest in acquiring AICO’s stake in the lease.
“In 2014, AICO in exercise of its right under the mining Act, applied to the ministry for the transfer of its title in the ML No. 2541 to the Dangote Group. AICO and Dangote Group equally paid all the transfer and statutory fees demanded by the ministry.
“By a letter dated February 5, 2016, the ministry wrote to the Managing Director of the Dangote Group to convey the approval of the ministry for the transfer/assignment of ML No. 2541 from AICO to Dangote Group with effect from February 3, 2016. Following the successful transfer of Mining Lease No. 2541 to the Dangote Group, the Group became the holder of the Mining Lease No. 2541.”
However, BUA insisted that its mining sites were in Obu, Okpella, Edo State and not Kogi State.
The Group Head, Corporate Communications, BUA International Limited, Otega Ogra, said in a statement, “This latest statement by the Dangote Group stinks of desperation in its continued attempt to disregard the judicial process and scheme a viable competitor out of business. We thus wish to reiterate once again that whilst we do not want to take issue with anyone on this matter as it is currently before a court of competent jurisdiction, we are, however, compelled to use the opportunity presented by Devakumar Edwin’s reckless statements to clarify the cycle of misinformation being proliferated.
“In specific response to Devakumar Edwin 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 licences ML18912 and 18913 were issued and revalidated 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.”