The Kogi State Government has stated that it will be prepared to start negotiations As soon as Dangote Group is willing to acknowledge that the Obajana cement plant does not belong to it.
This was said by Governor Yahaya Bello on Thursday as he presented evidence to support the state’s ownership of the plant.
The documents are from the Specialized Technical Committee’s report evaluating the legality of Dangote Cement Company Limited’s alleged acquisition of Obajana Cement Company Plc.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Folashade Ayoade presented the public with the comprehensive report that was sent to Governor Yahaya Bello last month.
She stated that it was “invalid, null, and void” for Obajana to be purportedly transferred to Dangote Industries Limited.
Three certificates of occupancy for Obajana Cement Company Plc, which at the time was exclusively controlled by the Kogi State Government, according to Ayoade’s report, were used to convince Dangote to lend N63 billion to the company.
She said that the committee had advised Kogi State to take action to reclaim the Obajana Cement Company from the Dangote Group in light of its findings.
The committee, which was presided over by the state government secretary, also suggested that “Kogi State Government should take steps to recover all accrued dividends from profits made 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 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.”
The purchase of the Obajana Cement Company by Dangote, according to Matthew Kolawole, Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, occurred without the House of Assembly’s approval, making the transaction invalid.
“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.
Governor Yahaya Bello stated in his remarks that a number of petitions from locals who felt left out by the firm led to the decision to close the factory.
However, the governor stated that the state was willing to engage in conversation whenever Dangote Company Plc was prepared.
“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.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, however, denounced the Kogi State Government officials’ assault of the Dangote facility.
In response to the confrontation on Wednesday between state security forces and employees at the Dangote Cement facility, MAN characterized the invasion as illegal and a violation of one of the most important business entities in Nigeria’s fundamental human rights.