The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has intervened in the raging controversy between Dangote Group and BUA Group over a mining site located in Okpella area of Edo State.
Africa’s richest man and chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, owns Dangote industries limited, the producer of Dangote Cement, while business mogul, Abdulsamad Rabiu owns the BUA Group, producer of BUA cement. Both are natives of Kano.
The conflict over the rightful ownership of Mining Lease No 2541 between the duo has been on in the past few weeks, with both sides engaging in accusations and counter accusations, including name dropping in the media.
Obviously disturbed by the pace at which the war is taking, Emir Sanusi II stepped in by calling the two multi-billionaires to order so as to end the war, which is said to be doing more damage to their relationships and even affecting their business associates.
LEADERSHIP gathered that Emir Sanusi II, who by virtue of his position as the traditional ruler of Kano and father to all, opted to intervened on the matter with a view to finding a lasting solution to the scuffle.
A competent source told our correspondent that the royal father asked the two industry magnates to bury their hatchet and desist from further engaging in media war.
According to the source who did not want to be named in print, the Emir told the businessmen that the raging controversy was counterproductive.
It was gathered that the Emir who is out of the country at the moment, assured that once he returns from his foreign trip, he would call the two sons of Kano to a round table.
“The Emir was disturbed over the matter and has asked them to put an end to the media war. In fact, he has sent emissaries to both men and will interface with them as soon as he returns”, the source said.
Our source further noted that the Emir and by implication, the Kano Emirate council, is worried that the two multi-billionaires are engaged in needless scuffle, which could have been handled in a subtle manner without recourse to rancour.
In the last one-month, the two cement giants had been embroiled in a war of some sort over the ownership of a mining site, which is already a subject of litigation.
The rift took a deeper crisis dimension recently when it escalated with new allegations and counter-allegations by the two companies. Both companies have been accusing each other of using force among other illegal activities.
Several interventions by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the Edo government and other stakeholders have proved futile.
The two companies got their licences from third parties; while BUA obtained its licence from the old Bendel Cement Company through its privatisation, Dangote Group obtained its licence from a company called AICO (Ado Ibrahim & Co) Limited.
The disputed area is at the boundary between Kogi and Edo States, but officials have said that mineral titles are not by state boundary but by the geographic coordinates, which means they can fall in any state.
The Mining Cadastre Office, however, is insisting that BUA overlapped the AICO’s title and that it has no case.
Meanwhile, the case has brought to the fore the weak administration of data of mineral sites in the country, as the titles claimed by both parties are from the same ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
While the BUA group presents mining rights in ML 18912 and ML 18913 in Obu, Okpella in Edo State, Dangote claims right in ML 2541 located in Okene, Kogi State.
Both parties presented evidences that the area where the mining is taking place belong to them and was duly signed by the mining authorities, the ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Mining Cadastre Office.
The disagreement between the companies compelled the Federal Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development to issue a directive that the Obuh mine, located in Okpella, Edo State should be shut down.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, disclosed this while meeting with members of the Okpella community at the Government House.
“There are multiple claims and they have all gone to court. We have a letter from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development instructing that the party currently mining that particular site should vacate it, pending the outcome of the decision in court”, Obaseki said.
Prior to this action, BUA Group had accused Dangote Industries of using armed personnel to take over the site and mining illegally.
The company also accused the Ministry of Mines and Steel of frustrating its operations, saying it had written to the Presidency, seeking its intervention.
Dangote Industries, in its defense had claimed BUA Group was illegally mining on a site it had made all the required payments for.
Group executive director of Dangote Industries, Edwin Devakumar, at a press conference in Lagos, stated that the conglomerate had acquired Mining Lease No. 2541 from AICO Ado Ibrahim & Company Limited sometime in 2014.
BUA Group started business in 1988 as a Private Limited Liability Company specializing in the importation and marketing of iron and steel, agricultural and industrial chemicals. Since then it has rapidly developed into a fully-fledged, diversified business with a stake in a wide range of business sectors.
The Dangote group was established in May 1981 as a trading business with an initial focus on cement, but has since diversified over time into various sectors of the economy, including port operations, road construction, salt refining and sugar refining. The group is one of the largest conglomerates in West Africa.