The Kogi State Government has said that it will be ready to enter into negotiations once Dangote Group is ready to admit that Obajana cement plant does not belong to it.
Governor Yahaya Bello stated this on Thursday while presenting documents to back the state’s claim to the ownership of the plant.
The documents are from the report of the Specialised Technical Committee on the Evaluation of the Legality of the Alleged Acquisition of Obajana Cement Company Plc by Dangote Cement Company Limited.
The detailed report, which was submitted to Governor Yahaya Bello last month, was presented to the public by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs) Folashade Ayoade.
According to her, the claimed transfer of Obajana to Dangote Industries Limited was “invalid, null and void.”
Ayoade said in the report that three certificates of occupancy for Obajana Cement Company Plc, which was solely owned by the Kogi State Government at the time, were used to obtain a loan of N63bn by Dangote.
She said the committee, in view of its findings, had recommended that Kogi State take steps to recover the Obajana Cement Company from the Dangote Group.
The committee, chaired by the Secretary to the State Government, also recommended 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.”
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 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.