LG Chairman Accuses Dangote Group Of Endangering Edo Community
BEVERLY HILLS, December 09, (THEWILL) – The Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, Hon. Abdulmalik Suleiman Afegbua, has accused the Dangote Group of indulging in double standards that is capable of gravely endangering the security and socio-economic life of Okpella, a community in his local government.
Making this claim in a press statement issued yesterday, Afegbua also accused the traditional ruler: Okuokpellagbe of Okpella Kingdom, Alhaji (Dr) A.Y.E. Dirisu, of conniving with the company against the interest of the community, after Dangote Group published a letter written by the Okuokpellagbe in advertorials placed in various newspapers.
Buttressing his claims with instances, the Chairman accused the monarch of illegal acquisition of limestone deposit in the heart of Okpella without obtaining the consent of the community, stressing that the consequence of this action is seen in the lingering legal tussle between the community on the one side and Alhaji Ado Ibrahim/Dangote Group on the other.
He continued that “with complete disregard for territorial integrity of Okpella and the dangers inherent in such action, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim transferred the consent to Dangote.”
Alleging that this “controversial consent is now being guarded jealously by Dangote on Okpella soil, he said: “It should be recalled that it was his agents who came to work on the site of mineral deposit in Okpella and were eventually prevented from doing so by highly respected chiefs of the community. These are High Chief Joshua Ogene and Prince Bombay Afegbua.”
The local government boss, who noted that senior citizens of Okpella had been charged to a Lokoja High Court in Kogi State for various offences, said it is left for the court to determine whether Okpella is now in Kogi or Edo State, but stressed that “It is becoming embarrassing and provocative for the counsel to Dangote Group to argue in court that the disputes in Okpella now fall in Okene jurisdiction.”
While insisting that Dangote cannot claim to have a letter of consent to do business in Okpella from the Okuekpellagbe yet maintain that the huge limestone deposit belongs to Okene, Afegbua warned that the boundary between Edo and Kogi states cannot be redrawn.
He further asserted that “rather than seek genuine business in Okpella, Dangote's sole mission is to destabilize hitherto investments of BUA Group in the community regardless of the impacts,” adding that this could trigger serious security problems that will affect the entire community.
The Chairman ended by advising the Dangote Group against considering any investment option in Okpella for now as “his action so far poses threat to peace and security of the community.”