Obu-Okpella Mines: Court restrains Dangote, Police from interfering in BUA’s operations

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A Federal High Court in Benin City, Edo State has restrained Dangote Industries and the Nigerian Police Force from interfering with BUA Group’s operations of the disputed Okpella mining sites in Okpella, Edo State.

A statement by the management of the company, yesterday,  recalled that BUA was legally operating on its mining sites before operations at three of those mines were abruptly disrupted by the Inspector General of Police and the Edo state commissioner of Police on the order of Dangote Industries and Dangote Cement Plc in 2017.

According to the statement, the court ordered the Inspector General of Police and Edo State Commissioner of Police, Dangote Industries, and Dangote Cement Plc to steer clear of the mining sites or interfering in any manner whatsoever with BUA’s operation of disputed mining lease sites.

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The statement, said “We wish to inform our shareholders, employees, customers, regulators, host communities, security agencies and the general public that a Federal High Court, Benin Ciry, Edo State, in a recent judgment, has upheld BUA’s fundamental right to peaceful possession of the mining sites in Obu, Okpella, Edo State, operated by BUA Cement and which BUA became seised by virtue of mining leases granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria, without unlawful interference from the above listed respondents.

’’It will be recalled that BUA was legally operating its various mining sites in Obu-Okpella, Edo State before the above named respondents abruptly disrupted our operations at three of those mines in 2017 during the pendency of two other matters.

“The Inspector General of Police, Edo State Commissioner of Police, at the behest of Dangote Industries and Dangote Cement Plc invaded and shut down the operations. We then approached the courts to enforce our fundamental rights to the property of the mines as well as our rights to continue operating from those mines. Whilst we were awaiting judgment, we continued to sustain our operations from our other numerous mines in that area unaffected by these actions.

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“After a prolonged trial, which commenced in 2017, the court not only found that we have always been in possession of the mining sites but clearly found that the IGP and Edo State Commissioner of Police were used and allowed themselves to be used by Dangote Industries and Dangote Cement Plc to invade, and disrupt our operations in the affected and disputed mine sites during the pendency of two other matters between us and the 3rd and 4th respondents. The court accordingly granted an order restraining the Police, as well as Dangote Industries and Dangote Cement Plc from interfering in any manner whatsoever, with BUA’s operation of disputed mining lease sites.

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’’This judgment is one major step towards the final vindication of our rights over the mining sites and in line with BUA’s position that it holds the legal mining leases to the disputed sites, and that all parties in this dispute allow the courts be the final arbiter as has been our mantra, “Let the courts decide.” We therefore, wish to thank the judiciary for standing firm on the side of justice in the discharge of its duties as well as the commitment of all parties in submitting wholeheartedly to the judicial process.’’

“We have since taken possession and resumed operations at the disputed Obu-Okpella Mines as ordered by the courts.”

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