Cement Plant Dispute: KONGONET Urge Kogi Govt, Dangote Group to Seek Legal Resolution

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Kogi NGO Network (KONGONET), the apex coalition of civil society network in Kogi state, has called on Dangote Group and Kogi state government to take practical steps to settle the ongoing rift over the ownership of cement plant amicably.

KONGONET urged both parties to immediately go to arbitration as enshrined in clause 22
of the original agreement document between Kogi State Government and Dangote Industries
Limited (DIL) entered into in 2002.

In a statement signed by Idris Ozovehe Muraina and Success Adejoh, chairperson and public relations officer respectively, KONGONET called on Kogi government and Dangote Group to refrain from causing more harm to the citizens of these communities and the state, who have suffered severally due to the actions or inaction of both the company and the government.

“The recent happenings in the Obajana Cement Company have left many stakeholders and
citizens perplex at the behaviour of both parties in the avoidable crisis that is threatening to
destroy not only the economy of the host communities but the environment of the state,” the statement said.

The coalition frowned at the excesses of Dangote Group and he state government’s resort to self-help.

“Citizens of Obajana and Lokoja in general have severally cried out to Kogi State Government to come to
their aid in checking the excesses of the company especially in the area of environmental
pollution and destruction of their economy. The company had behaved as if it was above the law
and was not part of a system from which it derived its profits.

“The constant dumping of toxic limestone dust into the air and its attendant hazard has over the
years brought severe respiratory challenges to those within the immediate surrounding of the
plant. The number of cases especially among children has risen and there was no significant
effort at arresting the situation and holding the company liable for this damage.

“Obajana community together with Lokoja Local Government in particular and Kogi State in
general, cannot show benefit from having the company situated in their domain. All economic
benefits from the cement factory (employment, value chain, and proportionate taxes) do not
come to the host community and the State. It is not possible that such an investment exists in
other region of the country in Nigeria and the major beneficiaries come from outside the
domain. This is not a good business practice and will only bring about anger and frustration from
both the State and the host communities.

“The attitude of disrespect to constituted authorities by the Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) is
unacceptable and should be called to order. There is no reason for an investment entity not to
respond to a constitutional arm of government whenever called to do so. The attitude of Dangote
Industries Limited towards the Kogi State House of Assembly is condemnable and wrong.

“It is however unacceptable for the State, in trying to rectify the challenge, to resort to self-help.
We are a people of law and order, and the State that represent the people, do so by law. The
forceful closure of the company must have legal backing and should have been through the
courts of competent jurisdiction.

“We call on both parties in this debacle to immediately go to arbitration as enshrined in clause 22
of the original agreement document between Kogi State Government and Dangote Industries
Limited (DIL), 2002 and refrain from causing more harm to the citizens of these communities
and the State, who have suffered severally due to the actions or inaction of both the Company
and the government.”

KONGONET said the civil society in Kogi State is willing and planning a tripartite meeting between the parties to find amicable solutions to this ugly situation.

“The atmosphere is tense and both parties are becoming unnecessarily too desperate, this could be
observed clearly from the press statement made available by the Kogi State Government through
her commissioner for information and communication regarding a plot to cause chaos in Kogi
State by Dangote Industries Limited.

“Our preliminary findings shows that the Kogi State House of Assembly is requesting Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) to make available a document purportedly transferring the Obajana Cement Company 100% to Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) and supporting evidence of financial consideration not a case of Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) narrative as being pushed by lots.

“Our people deserve peace, development and happiness. As it stands today the Obajana Cement
Company has become a source of pain, misery and poverty to Kogi State. This cannot continue
however; issues must be resolved amicably through the right channels (Law of the Land).”

The statement said KONGONET has set up a committee within her ranks of thematic
networks to review the ongoing feud between the Kogi State Government and Dangote
Industries Limited in a view to provide more information to guide the coalition engagement with
both parties.

The assured that KONGONET will consistently engage government, business communities and other
stakeholders for the sole benefit of Kogites and peaceful co-existence.


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