The Kogi State Government has said that it would be willing to negotiate if Dangote Group admits that the Obajana cement facility is not its property.
Thursday, Governor Yahaya Bello asserted this while presenting evidence to support the state’s claim to the plant’s ownership.
The papers are from the report of the Specialised Technical Committee on the Legality of the Alleged Acquisition of Obajana Cement Company Plc by Dangote Cement Company Limited.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Folashade Ayoade, delivered the comprehensive report to the public last month, after submitting it to Governor Yahaya Bello.
According to her, the alleged transfer of Obajana to Dangote Industries Limited was “invalid, void, and without effect.”
Ayoade said in the report that Dangote utilised three certificates of occupancy for Obajana Cement Company Plc, which at the time was wholly controlled by the Kogi State Government, to acquire an N63bn loan.
She said that the committee has recommended that Kogi State reclaim the Obajana Cement Company from the Dangote Group based on its findings.
The committee, led by the Secretary to the State Government, also advised that “the Kogi State Government should take efforts to reclaim all dividends and interest accumulated from profits gained over the years.”
“The Kogi State Government should invalidate the seven Certificates of Occupancy currently held by 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 invalid, void, and voidable.
“There is no evidence that Dangote Industries Limited paid Kogi State Government any compensation for the purported transfer of Obajana Cement Company Plc, and no dividend was given to the state from the profits realised by Dangote Cement Company Plc from its start to date.”
The Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, said that the purchase of the Obajana Cement Company by Dangote occurred without the House of Assembly’s approval, which made the transaction invalid.
“It is evident that you cannot sell any sort of state-owned property without the approval of the Kogi State House of Assembly.
Kolawole noted that the transfer of Obajana’s share capital to Dangote by the previous government occurred without the state legislature’s authorization.
Governor Yahaya Bello said in his speech that the decision to close the factory was prompted by several pleas from people of the local community who felt marginalised by the corporation.
However, the governor said that the state was willing to engage in discourse whenever Dangote Company Plc was prepared to do so.
“We got multiple petitions from the general public about this specific topic. In the previous five or six years, all attempts to meet with the Dangote Conglomerate’s owners have failed.
Nevertheless, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria denounced the assault of the Dangote facility by Kogi State Government personnel.
In response to Wednesday’s confrontation between state security forces and employees at the Dangote Cement facility, MAN denounced the invasion as illegitimate and a violation of the basic human rights of one of Nigeria’s most prominent corporations.