Battle for Supremacy: BUA, Dangote ‘Duel’ over Mining Lease
Cement operators are engaging in unending capitalists’ battle to cut high from the available industry’s pie, protecting resources.
Analysts said this is a battle between the Northern oligarchy, and it is within the purview of the court to decide.
For Dangote Cement, there have been cases of allegations that the group is emasculating other key players in the industry.
Of many allegations, favouritism and government support rank high among other issues. Lafarge, BUA and IBETO Group are cases in points.
Analysts have predicted a tough operating environment in 2020 for key players.
The situation has been further exacerbated by COVID-19 as industry’s profitability and sales dropped.
The pattern was similar in the industry in Q1 among key players except that BUA Cement enjoyed increased demand.
This was not unconnected with the group increased capacity and synergy from its recent merger and acquisition deal.
Meanwhile, BUA cement reaction to the recent publication by its key rival –Dangote Group has degenerated to front page brouhaha on dailies.
Dangote had issued a statement where it stated that BUA misinterpreted the fact about pending court case.
Reacting, BUA Group described the publication as untrue and laden with fraught misrepresentations.
A statement by BUA explained that Dangote, in its hurry to twist facts, failed to justify the alleged misinterpretation in its publication.
“In the said publication by Dangote Group, it alleged that the initial publication of the BUA Group was riddled with misrepresentations and deliberate distortions of facts.
“We however note that the Dangote Group failed to identify any specific fact, which was distorted”, BUA said.
It was stated that Dangote Group reiterated the fact that the judgment of the Court indeed restrained DIL and the other Respondents, as contended by BUA.
Albeit, it stated that the judgment of the Court constitutes complete aberrations and contains manifests contradictions; and it has exercised its legal right to appeal the decision of the Court.
Reacting to this, BUA said: “Whilst we consider this attempt to disparage the Court on the pages of print media as an affront, we shall not be joining issues with the Dangote Group.
“We are of the view that the Court can protect itself and DIL reserves the right to appeal the decision of the Court”, it added.
BUA said that Dangote Group questioned its right to institute the BUA Fundamental Right Suit on the basis that it was a clear abuse of court process as there are two other pending suits – the BUA Suit and Suit No. FHC/B/CS/74/2016: Dangote Industries Limited & Anor. v. BUA International Limited & Ors (“Dangote Suit”).
This is notwithstanding that the Dangote Group itself ironically commenced the Dangote Suit during the pendency of the BUA Suit.
“Moreover, it is trite law that any fundamental right suit is an independent claim, which does not impede a pending dispute.
“In this instance, the suit was deemed necessary in view of Dangote Groups use of the Nigeria Police Force to disrupt the possessory right of BUA Group and to safeguard the lives of BUA Group’s employees.
“Indeed, Court confirmed this in the BUA Fundamental Rights Suit where it was stated: “that the 1st and 2nd Respondents (Police) allowed themselves to be used by the 3rd and 4th Respondents (DIL and Dangote Cement)”, BUA added.
“Interestingly, the Dangote Group did not deny resorting to self-help in its publication.
“It is our contention that no one should be above the law, no matter how highly placed, powerful or influential as the rule of law is the pillar and foundation of any democracy”, it noted.
The group also dismissed Dangote’s claim to BUA’s mining sites in Edo as absurd and frivolous as Dangote’s mining license was granted under Kogi State while BUA licenses and mining sites respectively cover and are located in Obu, Okpella in Edo State.
“With respect to the Dangote Group’s interpretation of the consequence of its Appeal of the decision of the Court, it is trite law that an Appeal does not amount to a stay of execution, and the Dangote Group is only being mischievous by suggesting that BUA is refrained from taking benefit of the judgment, which was in BUA’s favour.
“As held by the Supreme Court in the case of Tai Ajomale v. Yuduat and Anor (1991)” All N.L.R. 197: “The successful litigant is prima facie entitled to the fruits of the judgment in his favour, it is expressly provided in Section 24 of the Supreme Court Act, 1960, that an appeal does not operate as a stay of execution”, it explained.
BUA said: “The Courts have also reiterated the position of law in the case of Enabulele v. Agbonlahor (1994) 5 NWLR (PT. 342) 112 at P125, where it was held that:
“It is trite law that under Section 18 of the Court of Appeal Act, 1976, the filing of a Notice of Appeal does not operate as a stay of execution since the Court will not normally deprive a successful party of the fruits of his successful litigation”
BUA Group will not join issues with Dangote as the intention of its publication was to inform its shareholders and other stakeholders of the judgment of the Federal High Court which granted BUA’s and not commence a media trial, the statement reads.
Title to Mining Sites:
“The Dangote Group alleged that BUA claims to have been granted its mining licenses from the Governor of Edo State.
BUA said it has never contended that the Governor of Edo State granted its licenses, as the authority to grant a mining license is within the sole jurisdiction of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development through the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, which granted the BUA licenses.
Further, both the Hon. Minister of Mines and Steel Development and the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office are defendants in Suit No. FHC/B/CS/7/2016: BUA International Limited & Anor. v. Hon. Minister of Mines and Steel Development (“BUA Suit”), wherein BUA asserts its legal and beneficial ownership of the mining sites”.
Dangote Group explicitly asserted that BUA does not have any right to the mining sites on the basis of the response of the Director-General of the Mining Cadastre Office to BUA’s application to renew its licenses.
BUA said: “Needless to say, the Director-General’s ministry and parastatal are also Defendants in the BUA Suit pending in Court and the reaction is therefore not surprising.
“We wish to state clearly that the mining license granted to Dangote Group explicitly states that the location is in Kogi State, Nigeria, while the BUA licenses and mining sites respectively cover and are located in Obu, Okpella, Edo State, Nigeria.
“The Dangote Group’s attempt to lay claim to mining sites not within a geographical area covered by its license is therefore ludicrous.
BUA said: “The general public is therefore advised that Dangote Group’s claims are nothing but an attempt to unilaterally determine the outcome of the very matter the Court has been approached to determine in Suit No. FHC/B/CS/7/2016 – BUA Suit, which is still pending”.
Battle for Supremacy: BUA, Dangote ‘Duel’ over Mining Lease