Nigerian News

High Court Restrains Yahaya Bello’s Kogi Government From Shutting Down Dangote Cement Factory

By The Evangelist
October 27, 2022

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

The court also stopped the state government from disrupting or suspending the activities of Dangote Coal Mines Ltd and Dangote Industries Ltd in Okaba, Ankpa Local Government Area and Olamaboro Local Government Area respectively.

Justice Binta Nyako gave the interim order following two separate ex-parte motions moved by the counsel for the companies, Regina Okotie-Eboh.

SaharaReporters had reported that the Kogi state government shut down the Obajana factory over allegations of tax evasion and unresolved ownership.

The management of Dangote Group however said it had concluded plans to approach the court to seek legal redress on the matter.

The Group Managing Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Michel Puchercos in a statement said, “We reiterate that the Obajana Cement plant is 100 percent owned by Dangote Cement PLC. In forcefully evicting the workers to enforce the shutdown, the vigilantes shot 27 of our workers and destroyed some of the company’s property at the plant.”

SaharaReporters also reported that the Nigerian government last week ordered the reopening of the Obajana Cement factory in the state.

The government also advised that all issues in dispute must be resolved legally.

However, the companies, in a motion ex-parte marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1876/22, filed before Justice Binta Nyako, sought an order of interim injunction restraining the state government from shutting down the factories.

Joined in the suit are the Kogi House of Assembly, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and Mining Cadastre Office as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

The 1st and 2nd applicants in the suit are Dangote Coal Mines Ltd and Dangote Industries Ltd.

The Vanguard reports that in a second motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1877/22, all the defendants in the first application, except Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), were listed as defendants.

The two applications, dated October 13 and filed October 14, were filed by Rickey Tarfa, SAN.

Dangote group prayed 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 them 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).

When the matter was called, Okotie-Eboh, who appeared for the companies, informed the court of the motions.

The lawyer said the crux of the matter was the restriction of the operations of the applicants and the invasion and disruption of the business by the defendants.

She argued that the closure of the cement factory by the defendants would affect the production of cement in Nigeria and put thousands of jobs at risk.

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, adding that the commissioner also threatened to invade the company again.

Justice Nyako, who granted the reliefs sought, 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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