Lokoja – The Kogi State Government is resorting to litigation over its dispute with Dangote Cement Plc over the ownership of the Obajana Cement Plant in the state.
Kogi State Information Commissioner Kingsley Fanwo confirmed this in a in Lokoja on Friday.
He said that the state government and stakeholders, representing the different ethnic groups in the state adopted the legal option at an emergency meeting on Thursday night to go to court on the matter.
The state’s position followed on the heels of the peace talks brokered between Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello and the chairman of Dangote Cement Plc, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
According to Fanwo, this is in the interest of the people and generations to come.
He said the governor made it clear during the Thursday night meeting that there was no going back on the state’s resolve to reclaim its asset, even while he sued for calm in the interest of peace.
Fanwo quoted the governor as saying that “this struggle is not about Governor Yahaya Bello or his administration. It is about the people of Kogi State.
“In the last 72 hours, well-meaning Nigerians, leaders and government officials have waded in and have pleaded with the Governor to consider reopening of the plant while discussions are ongoing.
“The expectations of the over 4 million Kogites are clear and high and we want to assure them that the Governor and the Government of Kogi State will not compromise the interest of the people of the state to reclaim their rights in the cement company.
“There were series of high-powered meetings to resolve the impasse, including meetings having the Governor and Alhaji Aliko Dangote in attendance.
“Discussions were held and statements of interest were established.
“But there was no agreement yet as some desperate parties are trying to promote in the media to mislead the public.
“We shall be non-violent in our approach as we are sure of green pathways to success for the people in this battle for the economic future of our dear state.
“However, we maintain that the collective asset of the people of Kogi State must be protected and reclaimed in this instance. And that is the process the government has started.
“We will fight this battle to the end until we get justice from the courts. No committee can resolve this dispute.”
However, the matter , was discussed on Friday, by the National Security Council (NSC) which said the disputed plant should be re-opened in the interest of the workers.
Police Affairs Minister Maigari Dingyadi told reporters at the end of the NSC meeting that an agreement had been reached to ensure the re-opening of the plant to give room for peace on the matter.
His words: “An agreement has been reached between the Kogi State Government and the Dangote Cement in Kogi on the need to re-open the factory and ensure that there is peace in the state.
“Government is committed to the provision of employment to its citizens rather than closing factories that will make people unemployed, and we do hope that the parties involved will respect this agreement and come to terms with the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties involved.”
Dingyadi said the agreement was brokered by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
Speaking on same matter, Aregbesola said: “The council noted the development in Kogi and has ordered the reopening of the cement factory that is closed down; has advised that all issues relating to that industry or factory be resolved legally; nobody must take the law into their hands, either as a government or an individual.
“We are committed to guaranteeing and providing employment for Nigerians, so whatever will, in any way, hinder that must be discouraged.
“So, in that regard, the cement industry in Obajana must be reopened and all issues that are in dispute should be resolved legally.” (The Nation)