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Benue Assembly summons Dangote, others over sale of BCC

By Peter Duru

MAKURDI—The Benue State House of Assembly at the end of its sitting weekend, summoned the Chairman of the Dangote Group, and President of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, Alhaji Aliko Dangote to explain alleged questionable transfer of ownership of the Benue Cement Company BCC to the Dangote conglomerate.

Also invited to appear before the House are former key officals in the erstwhile Governor George Akume’s administration who include two former Commissioners , Mr. Joe Abaagu the then Attorney General of the state when the Benue shares were sold, and Mr. Geofrey Agenor the Commissioner for Commerce and Industries at the time.

Another person to appear before the House on the 15th of December 2009, is Mr. John Tine, the then Managing Director and Chief Executive of Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), the government agency that held the government’s share at the BCC on behalf of the people of the state.

Those invited would individually brief the House on an alleged non compliance by parties to the transfer deal and the tenets of due process and fairness which the parties reached sequel to the purported sale and transfer of the BCC in 2006.

The 29-member House took the decision unanimously after a debate on a motion brought before the floor of the House by Mr. Simon Kwaghbula representing Kwande East State Constituency at the Assembly.

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 such issues 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 per cent to 4.5 and why BCC’s management has not been able to pacify the restiveness of the host community.


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