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Benue Assembly gives Dangote ultimatum

By Peter Duru

MAKURDI — Irked by the disregard for its orders, the Benue State House of Assembly has issued an ultimatum to the chairman of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote to appear before it on 12th January 2010, failure upon which necessary laws would be invoked against him.

Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Terseer Tsumba made the disclosure while fielding questions from newsmen in his office, after the House had adjourned for the yuletide festivities.

According to Tsumba, “before adjournment we had an interface with the management of Benue Cement Company Plc, BCC,  that of Benue Investment and Property Company, the management of BIC Securi-ties, and other sons of Benue whom we had invited regarding the sale of BCC to Dangote Industries Limited.

“You are aware that we had invited Dangote to appear before us. He could not make it. Today (yesterday) is the second day which the House gave him, and he also failed to appear before the House,” he said.

The Speaker, however, disclosed that the House has resolved to give Dangote yet another chance to appear before the House to clarify issues pertaining to the sale of BCC to Dangote Group.

Tsumba asserted, “we know the powers that the Constitution gives us about summoning whoever to appear before us over matters of importance to the House and to the people of Benue State. What we are asking for is the interest of the Benue people in BCC and we are not going to relent in our effort until our interests are realised in BCC,” he stressed.

Breach of contract

The House of Assembly is seeking to inquire into non-compliance with the agree-ment reached between the parties on the sale of BCC in 2006.

The 29-member House took the decision unanimously after debate on a motion brought by Mr. Simon Kwaghbula who represents Kwande East Constituency.

During the debate, members raised several issues including the failure of BCC management to keep to the agreement reached with the state government on the sale of the company on issues such as social responsibility, payment of taxes and dust emission.

They also wondered why the state’s shares in the company have been reduced from 27 to 4.5 per cent and why BCC’s management has not been able to pacify the restiveness of the host community.

Most of the contributors stated that the agreement reached with Dangote Industries Limited was not in the best interest of the state, hence the need for those who signed it to appear on the floor of the House to give explanations.


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