Kogi State Tackles Dangote Over Ownership Of Obajana Cement Company 

Kogi State Tackles Dangote Over Ownership Of Obajana Cement Company 

— “It Is Clear Obajana Cement Company Does Not Belong To Dangote,” Says Gov Bello

By Our Reporter

The prolonged discreet disagreement between Dangote Industries Limited and Kogi State Government over the rightful owner of Obajana Cement Company PLC in Kogi State, Nigeria, is today, the source of tension in the state.

Describing the alleged Dangote’s acquisition of the gigantic cement company as “invalid,” the state government, in a formal statement, said: “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.”

It would be recalled that the disagreement between Kogi State and Dangote, over the ownership of the cement company, which has been carefully managed, became public knowledge on Wednesday when  the huge factory was sealed.

The action, according to reports was based on Kogi State government’s resolution, contained in a report by the specialised technical committee on the evaluation of the legality of the alleged acquisition of Obajana Cement Company by Dangote Cement.

The report was presented to the public by Folashade Ayoade, Secretary to Kogi State Government (SSG), on Thursday in Lokoja.

 Ayoade alleged that “the transfer of Obajana Cement Company to Dangote Industries Limited was “invalid, null and void,” and disclosed that in the report, 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 N63 billion by Dangote.

Consequently, the committee, she added, in view of its findings, recommended that Kogi State should take steps to recover the company from Dangote Group, adding: “Kogi State Government should take steps to recover all accrued dividends from profits made over the years, including accrued interest on same.

“Kogi State government should take steps to cancel the existing seven certificates of occupancy in the name of Dangote Cement Company. By the assignment of the three certificates of occupancy, the title in Obajana Cement Company Plc, still vests in Kogi State Government as the sole owner. The three documents were used to obtain a loan of sixty-three billion naira only (63,000,000,000.00) to finance the construction of the cement plant in Obajana.”

Also explaining why the State wants to recover the company, Matthew Kolawole, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, said the acquisition of the Obajana Cement Company by Dangote was without the resolution of the House of Assembly which made 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,” he said. 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.”

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, also commented on the issue.

Bello said he had taken the bold step in line with his mandate to safeguard the lives and livelihood of the people of Kogi state, including residents, and to ensure their wellbeing.

According to him,   his action was also coming on the heels of protests by the people of the state who felt they had been suppressed and marginalised by Dangote Group who had come to rip them off. Governor Bello however added that the state was open to discussions.

He said: “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.

“We set up a committee to look into this and invited the Dangote company to discuss with them and tell them the imminent dangers they are exposing the people to, but it all fell on deaf ears. I am here to defend my people, and from all reports, it is clear that Obajana Cement Company does not belong to Dangote.”

The formal response of Dangote Industries Limited to this development is still being awaited.