Dangote Group has warned BUA Group, its workers and the public to keep off mining sites in Obu, Okpella, Edo State, asserting itself as the rightful owner and not BUA.
It said they should not take any step to enter, mine or interfere with the disputed mining leases pending the determination of an appeal against a Federal High Court judgment.
“Any of such steps will be considered a contempt of court. Once a party is aware of a pending court process, even when the court has not made a specific injunctive order, parties are bound to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the court process,’’ Dangote said in a statement by the Group Executive Director, Mr Devakumar Edwin
He insisted that “BUA Group does not have any right to the mining sites”, and recalled that the BUA Group had claimed to have title pursuant to Mining Leases 18912 and 18913.
He said, “However, as recently as 09 October 2019 while its wholly incompetent Fundamental Right Suit was still pending, the BUA Group through its subsidiary (Edo Cement Company Ltd) applied to the Director-General of Mining Cadastre Office & Centre, Abuja for the renewal of the said Mining Leases Nos. 18912 and 18913.’’
Dangote group advised the regulatory agencies to disregard the “unfounded and mischievous’’ claim to the sites, following a Benin court judgment, which according to it was full of misrepresentations and deliberate distortions of facts.
According to Edwin, Dangote Group, through its lawyers, had “vigorously defended’’ the suit filed by the BUA Group, seeking a perpetual injunction against further interferences with their purported fundamental rights to property and privacy.
The Group has appealed the high court judgment and, until the Appellate Court rules, BUA cannot lay claim or even operate on the mining site, he insisted.
Giving details of the case, Edwin recalled that in 2014, the Dangote Group and AICO entered into an agreement for the transfer of 2541ML from AICO to Dangote Group.
“AICO thereafter applied to the Ministry of Mines for the approval of the Transfer vide a Mining Lease Transfer Form dated 11 July 2014.
“In 2016, the Ministry of Mines wrote to the Dangote Group to convey the approval of the Ministry for the Transfer/Assignment of 2541ML from AICO to Dangote Group with effect from 03 February 2016.
“Following the approval of the Ministry, the Dangote Group became the legal holder and owner of the Mining Lease No. 2541ML. The 2541ML Certificate was thereafter endorsed to reflect the transfer from AICO to the Dangote Group.
“Once a party is aware of a pending court process, even when the court has not made a specific injunctive order, parties are bound to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the court process,’’ he explained.
Edwin stressed: “Interestingly and to show the character of the BUA Group, these supremely critical facts were never brought to the attention of the Federal High Court in the Fundamental Rights Suit even though the Mining Cadastre Office letters were written about eight months before the judgment of the court was delivered.
“In effect and significantly so, when that Court was handing down its decision and issuing injunctive orders to protect BUA, BUA knew and was well aware, by virtue of the above-referenced letters, that its purported rights to the mining lease were non-existent!
“These facts were however mischievously and in a brazen display of mala fide concealed by the BUA Group from the Court! Even these facts constitute sufficient proof that the BUA Group’s claim to Mining Leases Nos. 18912 and 18913 rest entirely on quicksand and is therefore invalid baseless and totally non-existent. The general public is advised to be guided accordingly,” Edwin said.
(Per Second News)