Dangote-BUA dispute: Edo governor orders sealing of Okpella mining sites

By Editor on 19/12/2017

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Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has ordered the immediate closure of the Obu Mines in Okpella, Etsako East Local Government of the state, on the instructions of the Federal Government.

The government, had cited security concerns arising from the proclamation by the Federal Ministry of Mines that illegal mining activities are being carried out at the contentious mines amidst serious disputes between two Nigerian giants, Dangote Group and BUA Group, over who has the mining rights at the site.

The governor, who gave the order on Monday, to maintain peace and tranquility, and warned of serious consequences against flouting it, directed the state Commissioner of Police and the Army Brigade Commander in the state to halt further operations at the mines with immediate effect.

There has been a running battle between Dangote and BUA, both which are into the manufacturing of cements, over the matter, which escalated in the recent weeks, before the pronouncement.

Addressing community heads and chiefs of Ukhomunyio Okpella, whose community is hosting the disputed mines, who came to express reservation at the alleged use of youths as militia to enforce perceived rights to ownership of the mines and thus creating security threat to the peace of the people, the governor described Okpella as the mineral gem of the state.

He lamented that the resource, which ought to be a blessing to the people had degenerated to a security threat, which needed to be nipped in the bud to avoid further  harm to the people and the community.

His words: “We are following the rule of law, which is that there is a dispute, it is not unusual to have disputes over assets, but there are laid down methods at resolving disputes of this nature. What we understand, as a government is that there is a dispute or claim between two parties over an existing mining right and the mining act of 2007 is quite clear. The Federal Ministry of Mines decides on how to award or issue leases.

 

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“The Federal Ministry of Mines which has authority over the mines has proclaimed that what we have there now is illegal mining and we don’t want break down of law and order. The situation has degenerated badly.

“Those of you were concerned have moved and tried to resolve the matter, we lost two of the people on the road to Benin while on the trouble shooting mission to Benin.  We had a meeting in Abuja two weeks ago and we analysed the Obu mines issue.

“Two people can’t lay claim to one asset, until the court decides the ownership or the federal supervising agency, the Ministry of Mines says otherwise, I am closing down that Obu mines with immediate effect. Because we believe there is globally acceptable way of determining ownership in a contentious matter as this without recourse to self-help.”

Welcoming the decision, the community representatives said its decision to wade into the matter, would bring relief to the people who have been living under fear since the escalation of the crisis.

Their spokesman, Chief Moshood Aliu, while briefing the governor on their mission, regretted that youths of the community were being incited against one another in a bid to enforce perceived right to ownership of the mines.

He said they had come, not only to declare their support for the state government’s effort at industrialising the state, but to intervene in the dispute between the two cement manufacturing giants, as their activities in dividing the youths had created a lot tension in the area.

“The location of the mines is not in dispute. What is being disputed is the ownership. Obu mines was in the then Mid-West, later Bendel and now Edo state. We are the occupier of the area and we don’t want trouble, the unilateralism and use of youths as militia to enforce ownership right is condemnable,” he said.  



 

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on December, 19 2017

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