BUA Kicks As Obaseki Orders Arrest Of Two BUA Employees
BUA International Limited has faulted the arrest of two of its employees at Obu-Okpella mining site in Edo state.
Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo state, had on Wednesday, ordered the arrest of two employees of BUA over alleged violation of a ‘stop work order’ issued by the Ministry of mines and steel as BUA and Dangote Group have been involved in a dispute over ownership of the mining site.
The arrest order was given when the Governor visited the site on Wednesday and discovered that the officials were carrying on with work.
“I addressed a section of the Okpella community who came to me to express concerns over the growing tension in the community because of the dispute over ownership of the Obu mine site,” he said.
“At that point, I issued instructions that the work should stop in line with the federal government’s directive and the case in court.
“I said that status quo be maintained until the determination of the case in court. I think that is the simple thing to do.”
But BUA said a Federal High Court in Benin had declared the order illegal and asked parties to maintain ‘status quo’.
It also said it has asked its lawyers to secure the release of its employees.
“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 statement read.
“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.
“We once again ask all parties to await the conclusion of judicial process as this matter is already before a court of competent jurisdiction.”