Obajana controversy: Dangote  explores arbitration

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The Dangote Industries Ltd is seeking the option of arbitration and has applied for a stay of proceedings in the suit filed against it before a Kogi State High Court by the Kogi State Government over the ownership agreement on the cement industry in Obajana.

Recall that the Kogi State Government, in the suit marked HCL/94/2022, is asking the court to nullify the contract for the mining of mineral resources in the state with Dangote Industries Ltd.

But in an application brought by Dangote’s lawyers Paul Usoro and Reuben Atabo, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), the firm is seeking to stay the matter to enable parties to explore the option of arbitration as contained in the clause of the agreement that was executed between them on July 30, 2002.

Dangote noted in a supporting affidavit, that Kogi State was yet to serve it a notice of arbitration in respect of dispute as required under clause 22 of the agreement of 30th July 2002 and in the terms of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap Al8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 before approaching the court.

The lawyers submitted that “One of the clauses in the 30th July agreement that was not modified or amended howsoever in and by the supplemental agreement of 14th February 2003 is the afore quoted clause 22 by which the parties agreed on arbitral reference for the settlement of ‘any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this agreement or the breach, termination or invalidity thereof.’

“That provision, therefore, remains, in the words of clause 2 of the supplemental agreement ‘valid, subsisting and binding on the parties.”
The state government had filed the suit seeking a declaration that “the clear consideration (an essential ingredient of a valid contract), in the agreement between the Kogi State Government and Dangote Industries Ltd on 30th Dy of July 2003 and 14th day of February 2003 respectively, render both agreements null and void.”
It wants the court to not only nullify the agreement, but to issue “an order of perpetual injunction restraining Dangote Industries Limited, any of its agents or assigns from further utilizing and or take any benefit(s) from the agreements dated the 30th day of July 2002, and 14th day of February, 20023 between the Kogi State Government and the Dangote Industries Limited.”

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