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Governor Obaseki’s arrest of BUA staff highlights impunity, disregard for court order

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The BUA group Thursday faulted governor Godwin Obaseki’s gestapo-style forceful shutdown of a mining site operated by BUA, despite a subsisting court pronouncement that the Mine be allowed to operate.

The Edo state governor in company of some security operatives literally gave the thumbs-up to violence, anarchy and impunity by also arresting two employees for no just reason.

“We have been made aware that today, the Edo State Governor, in the company of some security operatives, visited one of our mining sites in Obu-Okpella, Edo State to effect a gestapo-style forceful shutdown of that mine despite a subsisting court pronouncement that the Mine be allowed to operate, the BUA group said in a statement.

“Upon reaching that mining site and not meeting any personnel or equipment, two BUA Cement employees were invited to the mining site to receive the Governor. We later learnt that these employees were arrested upon arrival on the orders of the Governor and taken away for no just reason.”

“As it stands, we do not know why they were arrested but have requested our lawyers to secure their unconditional release immediately as these employees are innocent and have no knowledge of why they were being arrested.”

“Whilst the Governor based the legitimacy of his actions on a purported Stop-Work order from the Ministry of Mines, BUA wishes to reiterate that there is a pronouncement of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin on December 5, 2017 that declared the Stop-work order issued by the ministry as a contravention of the Court’s directives to maintain status quo and thus deemed it illegal.”

“The same court also threatened to arrest the Minister who is the first defendant in the case if the stop work order continues to be pursued.”

Per Second News in a report last December revealed that a federal high court judge threatened to jail the minister of Mines and steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi for instigating cycle of harassment and clandestine moves to usurp the powers of the courts and disrupt operations at the mining site in clear disregard of existing court directives.

In the suit N0. FHC/BCS/72016: BUA International Limited & ANOR VS HMMSD & 5 ORS, the court expressed its dissatisfaction over the conduct of the ministry of mines in meddling with the subject matter of the suit and threatened to commit the minister to prison if he does not desist from further interference with BUA’s mining rights.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has denied issuing an arrest warrant for Managing Director (MD) of BUA’s Obu Cement Company, Engineer Yusuf Binji. Force Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Jimoh Moshood, denied the report stating unequivocally that there had been no such directive from the police at the State or Federal command.

The Police statement calls to question, the earlier statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media to the Edo State Government, Crusoe Osagie, who alleged that the police had issued an arrest warrant for the arrest of the BUA Cement MD.

This statement by the police also contradicts other claims by the Edo State government; soon after an alleged attack on the convoy of Governor Godwin Obaseki on Thursday, the government issued a press statement claiming that the police has ordered the arrest of Engr. Binji for complicity in the attack.

Police rebuttal of the government’s claims however, absolves Binji of complicity in the alleged attack.

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