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Obajana: We must separate acquisition from asset grabbing, Kogi replies Dangote

The Kogi State government, on Wednesday, responded to Dangote Industries Limited’s insistence on 100 percent ownership of Obajana Cement Company, saying that DIL’s efforts at…

The Kogi State government, on Wednesday, responded to Dangote Industries Limited’s insistence on 100 percent ownership of Obajana Cement Company, saying that DIL’s efforts at making Kogi State’s demand appear unreasonable had only justified the state’s protest against what it described as “callous and deliberate asset grabbing.”

The state government maintained that Obajana Cement Company was solely founded in 1992 and owned by the state, which held 100 percent of its shareholding in trust for its people, long before DIL ventured into the state and longer still before Dangote Cement Plc came into existence.

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Daily Trust reports that Dangote Group had been entangled in a crisis over the ownership of the Obajan cement plant in Kogi State which deepened last weekend as the state government and Dangote Cement Plc continued to lay claims to the facility.

While the crisis raged, there was pandemonium last week when officials of the Kogi State Government reportedly moved to seal the cement plant which it claimed belonged to the state even as the management of the firm also vowed to take legal action over the alleged invasion and shooting of its employees by armed vigilantes.

Responding  to Dangote Group’s advertorial, titled, “Separating Facts From Fiction”, the Kogi State government noted that successive administrations had always invited Dangote Industries Limited and Dangote Cement Plc to prove that the Group paid anything at all for the purported acquisition of Obajana and its alleged 100 percent ownership, “but each time, DIL and DCP have woefully failed to do so”.

In the response titled, “Separating Acquisition From Asset-Grabbing”, the Kogi State Government disclosed that it took a loan of at least 15 million Deutsche Marks to conduct feasibility assessments, which confirmed the existence of those ‘vast limestone deposits’ that DIL found so enticing years later.

“Sadly, for over a decade after DIL and DCP started posting profits from the operations of the Obajana plant, the Kogi State Government was still labouring to pay off the said loan and interests accruing thereon,” the statement highlighted.

The Kogi State government said in the interest of humanity and truth, it was pertinent to ask the question: “How come years after DIL and DCP claim they acquired 100 percent of the equity and assets of Obajana Cement Plc, Kogi State officials were still listed as shareholders of the company, holding shares for and on behalf of the people of Kogi State in filings made by DIL and DCP at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)?”