The Presidency has intervened to restore order over the struggle for ownership of the Dangote Cement factory in Obajana, Kogi State, between the state government and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
The standoff had resulted in the closure of the factory, by a vigilante group acting on the order of the Kogi State government, over an alleged breach of tax.
But at a meeting brokered by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Presidency ordered the reopening of the factory facilities to staff while efforts continue to unearth the sources of the misunderstanding between the two parties.
The meeting held at the instance of the federal government was attended by the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Governors Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa).
A source close to the meeting said the Kogi Governor, tendered documents purported to be part of the agreements with the Dangote group, at the time of taking over in 2002.
The document, which was jointly signed on September 30, 2002, by Kogi State former Governor, late Abubakar Audi and the then Kogi State Attorney-General and Aliko Dangote for Dangote Industries, indicated that the Obajana Cement Company Plc with Certificate of Incorporation No. RC208767 dated November 4, 1992 is solely owned by Kogi state.
The project which was conceived in 1992, had its preliminary feasibility study carried out in 1992, with a Prospecting Right (Numbered PR No.14 of 2001 No.0053), issued exclusively to the company.
At the center of the conflict, is claims by the Dangote Group that the Obajana Cement factory is 100% owned by the group.
The Kogi State government said it has been shortchanged, adding that it only “offered and transferred 90% of its total shareholding in the company to Dangote Industries Limited.
It also revealed that the Kogi State is at liberty to sell half of its 10% equity to indigenes of the state by public offer or private placement. It noted that the state will grant Dangote Industries Limited tax waivers and exemption from levies for a period of 7 years from the date of commencement of production.
Dangote group has also threatened to seek legal redress over the actions of the Kogi state government which led to the destruction of the properties and injuries to staff of the Obajana Cement factory.