The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has described as misleading a publication signed by the Executive Chairman of the BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and circulated in media outfits on its activities on Site No.2541ML.
A statement yesterday, signed by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mohammed Abbas, said records at the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), confirmed that BUA Group, does not have a mining lease over the contentious site No. 2541ML. Therefore, its mining activities there are illegal.
Rabiu, published an article in several newspapers as an open letter to the President titled: “A Cry for Help: Wanton Abuse of Power By a Serving Minister Geared at Sabotaging Operations of BUA Cement.”
“The ministry stands by the Stop Work Order issued to the BUA Group and signed by the Permanent Secretary, dated 17th October 2017.
“The letter was issued after thorough investigation confirmed that the BUA Group was indeed engaging in illegal mining of marble/limestone at a mine pit located on Geographical Coordinates N070 21’ 47.4” E0060 26’ 51.8’, while the Run-of-Mine (ROM) is stockpiled at an area with geographical coordinates N070 21’ 48.4”; E0060 26’37.2”
Clarification provided by the Mining Cadastre Office shows that the coordinates of the Mine pit and ROM stockpile area fall wholly within the area of mining Lease No 2541ML belonging to Messrs Dangote Industries Limited.
“The ministry had earlier in 2015 issued a Stop Work Order on this same disputed site but the BUA Group disregarded the order and went ahead with its illegal mining activities, under heavy cover of armed soldiers, policemen and men of the Civil Defence Corps,” it said.
Meanwhile, reacting to the ministry yesterday, BUA Group said as a law abiding entity, it restricts its Obu Cement operations to mining areas covered by ML18912 and ML18913 and located in Obu Okpella, Etsako LG, Edo State.
“We do not have any mining activities specifically in Okene, Kogi State as the ministry insinuated and as stated in the ML2541 lease given by the ministry to a competitor.
“The High Court sitting in Benin asked all parties to the suits before it, including the ministry which is a party to the suit, to maintain the status quo which their spurious stop work order sought to overturn,” it said.