The Kogi State Government has stated that it will be willing to negotiate once Dangote Group admits that it doesn’t own the Obajana cement facility.
According to The PUNCH, Governor Yahaya Bello said this on Thursday while presenting paperwork to support the state’s ownership claim to the plant.
These papers are from the report of the Specialized Technical Committee evaluating the legality of Dangote Cement Company Limited’s Alleged Acquisition of Obajana Cement Company Plc.
The detailed report, which was submitted to Governor Bello last month, was presented to the public by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs) Folashade Ayoade.
According to her, Obajana’s purported transfer to Dangote Industries Limited was “illegal, null and void.”
According to Ayoade’s report, three certificates of occupancy for Obajana Cement Company Plc, which was entirely controlled by the Kogi State Government at the time, were utilized to secure an N63 billion loan from Dangote.
She stated that the committee has recommended that Kogi State make efforts to recover the Obajana Cement Company from the Dangote Group based on its findings.
The committee, which was led by the state government’s secretary, also suggested that “Kogi State Government should take steps to reclaim all accrued dividends from profits gained over the years, including accrued interest on the same
“Kogi State Government should take steps to cancel the existing seven Certificates of Occupancy in the name of Dangote Cement Company.”
“Agreement between Kogi State Government of Nigeria and Dangote Industries Limited, dated 30th July 2002 and supplemental agreement dated 14th February 2003, as contained in Exhibit 71 of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry Report, purporting the transfer of Obajana Cement Company Plc to Dangote Industries Limited, are all invalid, null and void.
“There is no evidence of consideration paid by Dangote Industries Limited to the Kogi State Government from the alleged transfer of Obajana Cement Company Plc and no dividend was paid to the state from the profits realised from the inception of Dangote Cement Company Plc to date.”
On his part, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, said the acquisition of the Obajana Cement Company by Dangote was without the resolution of the House of Assembly, which rendered the process null and void.
“It is clear that you cannot sell a state government property of any form without the resolution of the Kogi State House of Assembly.
“All the transfer process of the share capital to Dangote from Obajana by the previous administration was without any law backing it by the state House of Assembly,” Kolawole stated.
In his remarks, Governor Yahaya Bello said the decision to seal the plant came on the back of several petitions by members of the local community who felt marginalised by the company.
The governor, however, said that the state was open to discussions once Dangote Company Plc was ready to come to dialogue.
“We received several petitions from the general public over this particular subject matter. In the past five to six years, all efforts to sit with the proprietors of the Dangote Conglomerate failed.
However, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria condemned the invasion of the Dangote plant by officials of the Kogi State Government.
MAN, while reacting to Wednesday’s faceoff between the security outfit of the state and workers at the Dangote Cement plant, described the invasion as illegal and a breach of the fundamental human rights of one of Nigeria’s foremost corporate entities.