Court restrains Kogi from shutting down Dangote Cement's Obajana plant
Dangote Cement factory

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has restrained the Kogi State government from shutting down the Dangote Cement factory in Obajana area of the state.

Kogi government and Dangote Cement have been at loggerheads following a move to seal off the Obajana cement plant.

Subsequently, the state government said it commenced the process of recovering the cement plant from Dangote Group, alleging that the purported transfer of the facility to Dangote Cement did not follow due process.

But Dangote Group said its acquisition of the cement plant followed due process contrary to claims by the state government.

Although the federal government had said both parties had agreed on reopening the plant after the state sealed it, the Kogi government had said it would “fight to the end”.

Subsequently, the company and two other subsidiaries of the Dangote Group filed motions seeking to stop the state government from shutting down its operations.

Dangote Coal Mines Ltd and Dangote Industries Ltd, in a motion ex-parte with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1876/22, had sued the Kogi house of assembly, the state’s attorney-general and commissioner for justice, federal ministry of mines and steel development and mining cadastre office as first to fourth defendants, respectively.

Dangote Coal Mines Ltd and Dangote Industries Ltd are located in Okaba, Ankpa LGA and in Olamaboro LGA, respectively.

In the second motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1877/22, Dangote Cement PLC and Dangote Industries Ltd also listed all the defendants in the first application as well as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Both applications dated October 13 and filed on October 14, were filed by Rickey Tarfa, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The companies prayed the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents or any person purporting to act on their behalf from extending the exercise of the defendants’ oversight functions outside the concurrent and residual legislative list and unto the executive legislative list of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice”.

It also prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants “or any person purporting to act on their behalf from making any resolution or order, disrupting, suspending or shutting down the facilities or activities of the applicants anywhere in the state in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2) and item 32 of part 1 second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)”.

At the court session on Wednesday, Regina Okotie-Eboh announced legal representation for the companies.

Moving the ex parte application, Okotie-Eboh said the crux of the matter was the restriction of the operations of the applicants, the invasion and the disruption of the business by the defendants.

She contended that the defendants’ decision to close the cement facility would have an impact on Nigeria’s ability to produce cement and jeopardise thousands of jobs.

Okotie-Eboh alleged that the state’s house of assembly and its commissioner for justice disrupted cement production despite the fact that they did not have the power to do so.

The counsel added that the commissioner also threatened to invade the company again.

Binta Nyako, the presiding judge, granted the reliefs sought in the motion ex parte.

She also ordered the applicants to serve the defendants with the motions on notice within 14 days and adjourned the matter until November 21 for hearing.

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