The feud between Abdulsamad Rabiu’s BUA Group and Aliko Dangote’s Dangote Group is taking an interesting turn, as BUA Group described the publication of Dangote Group wherein it stated that BUA misinterpreted the fact about a pending court case as untrue and laden with fraught misrepresentations.
A statement by BUA Group explained that Dangote, in its hurry to twist facts, failed to justify the alleged misinterpretation in its publication but stylishly stated that it has appealed the judgement whilst accepting the recent court order, which granted BUA the right to peaceful possession and operations of three of its mining sites in Obu, Okpella in Edo State.
“In the said publication by Dangote Group, it was 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. On the contrary, the Dangote Group reiterated the fact that the judgment of the Court indeed restrained DIL and the other
Respondents, as contended by BUA, albeit stating 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. 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, as we are of the view that the Court can protect itself and DIL reserves the right to appeal the decision of the Court.
Dangote Group frowned at the right of BUA 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”).
It is worthy of note that the Dangote Group 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 Group’ s use of the Nigeria Police Force to disrupt the possessory right of BUA Group and to safeguard the lives of BUA Group’s employees.
The 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)”
It is imperative to note that the Dangote Group’s use of the Nigeria Police Force to disrupt BUA’s operations was done brazenly after DIL had applied to Court for a restraining order against BUA in Suit No. FHC/B/CS/74/2016, which was granted ex parte, but set aside by the Court upon a robust challenge by BUA.
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.
BUA further corrected Dangote on it claim that BUA was granted its mining lease from the Governor of Edo State restating that 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.
BUA 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.