The management of Dangote Group on Monday denied the claim by the BUA Group to the mining sites in Obu, Okpella, Edo State, thus refuting the ownership claim, as the latter which relied on the Federal High Court recent judgment in Benin.
Dangote advised the regulatory agencies to disregard completely the unfounded and mischievous claim and publication by the BUA Group, saying it was riddled with misrepresentations and deliberate distortions of facts.
Dangote Group, in a statement signed by the Group Executive Director, Devakumar Edwin, yesterday explained that the Group through its lawyers had vigorously defended the Suit filed by the BUA Group seeking a perpetual Injunctive Order against further interferences with their purported fundamental rights to property and privacy. He said the Group has appealed the High Court judgment and until the Appellate Court rules, BUA cannot lay claim or even operate on the mining sites.
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 July 11, 2014. In 2016, the Ministry of Mines wrote to the Group conveying the approval of the Ministry for the Transfer/Assignment of 2541ML from AICO to it with effect from February 3, 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”, he added.
Dangote Group, therefore, warned the general public and those working with BUA Group not to take any steps to enter, mine or interfere with the disputed mining leases pending the determination of the Appeal and/or the 2 Suits pending before Umar J. as any such steps will be considered a contempt of court. He noted that the Supreme Court in the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Chief Ojukwu (1986) 1 NWLR (pt. 18) 621), has held that:“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”.