BUA Group on Monday published an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over some alleged activities of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi.
The letter, titled “A Cry for Help: Wanton Abuse of Power by a Serving Minister Geared at Sabotaging Operations of BUA Cement,” alleged that the minister, in collaboration with Dangote Group, is carrying out activities capable of undermining the peace and security around the BUA cement plant in Okpella, Edo State.
The letter stated that the minister had alleged that BUA Group is engaging in unlawful and illegal mining in Kogi State in site No. 2541ML.
The minister, through the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, had however issued a “stop work” order asking BUA to vacate and stop mining activities in its plant Obu-Okpella, Edo State.
The letter alleged that a private militia employed by Dangote Group, Dangote Cement’s Chief Security Officer, Ahmed Yabagi, youths in the Okpella area employed by Dangote Group, senior officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and high ranking police officers had at different instances entered the premises of the cement plant to disrupt activities.
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development on the other hand has issued a press release addressing the allegations.
The press release stated that the ministry will stand by its stop work order, which BUA Group had used a combination of armed militia, soldiers and policemen to resist.
Read both the open letter and the press release below:
The attention of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been drawn to a misleading publication signed by the Executive Chairman of the BUA Group Abdulsamad Rabiu, published in several newspapers as an open letter to the President and titled: “A cry for Help: Wanton Abuse of Power By a Serving Minister Geared at Sabotaging Operations of BUA Cement.”
The publication which is an unwarranted campaign of calumny against the Ministry and the office of the Honourable Minister, is nothing but an attempt by the cement company to blackmail the Ministry into granting a free pass for illegal operations.
While the Ministry does not intend to join issues with the BUA Group which has an enviable history of industrial performance, we deem it appropriate, however, to state the facts for the purpose of enlightening members of the public as follows:
- In the records of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), the BUA Group, does not have a mining lease over the contentious site No. 2541ML. Therefore, its mining activities there are illegal.
- The Ministry stands by the Stop Work Order issued to the BUA Group and signed by the Permanent Secretary, dated 17th October 2017. The letter was issued after thorough investigation confirmed that the BUA Group was indeed engaging in illegal mining of marble/limestone at a mine pit located on Geographical Coordinates N070 21’ 47.4” E0060 26’ 51.8’, while the Run-of-Mine (ROM) is stockpiled at an area with geographical coordinates N070 21’ 48.4”; E0060 26’37.2”
- Clarification provided by the Mining Cadastre Office shows that the coordinates of the Mine pit and ROM stockpile area fall wholly within the area of mining Lease No 2541ML belonging to Messrs Dangote Industries Limited.
- The Ministry had earlier in 2015 issued a Stop Work Order on this same disputed site but the BUA Group disregarded the order and went ahead with its illegal mining activities, under heavy cover of armed soldiers, policemen and men of the Civil Defence Corps.
- The Management of BUA also resisted the enforcement of the latest Stop Work Order issued on October 17th , 2017 using a combination of armed militia, soldiers and policemen to obstruct the team from the ministry in effecting the Stop Work Order.
- While BUA Group in its publication admitted the fact that a suit over the ownership of the site was pending in a court of competent jurisdiction, the Group, however continued with its illegal mining activities on the site, which in itself is subjudice to both the court and the Mining Act 2007, which guides mining activities in the country.
- While the Ministry restates its commitment to promoting local and global investments in the Nigerian mining sector, it has always maintained that due process must be followed, especially in line with the provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act 2007. This, we shall not compromise.
Photo Credit: @mofiobafemi