BUA responds to Dangote - NATIONAL CATALYST


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Friday, November 3, 2023

BUA responds to Dangote

...reveals how the company survived Dangote's traps, selfish plots, use of unscrupulous govt officials to foist monopoly since 1991 to date

The attempt to paint itself as the offended by Dangote in a recent 7-page advertorial has been exposed by BUA Group in a press statement chronicling how since 1991, Dangote has done everything possible to ensure that BUA does not compete with it in any of the areas where they both undertake business.

BUA in its response revealed how it started out as a commodity trading company and in 1991, Dangote approached it to buy products only to issue a bounced cheque which was rejected by Societe Generale Bank.

Despite this, Dangote went to court to to secure an exparte order to garnish BUA account and ensured that BUA’s business was frustrated since they were the only ones that had sugar at that time. It was BUA’s first encounter with Dangote’s traps.

The court papers chronicling the case are attached. The company survived the baptism of fire.

As if this was not enough, when BUA, years later, attempted to expand by opening a sugar refinery in Lagos, leasing 4.5 hectares belonging to Dangote’s uncle Usman Dantata, the billionaire waited until the lease was signed, and equipment moved to site before approaching the then President Obasanjo who directed NPA to revoke the ownership of the land, and gave the same land to Dangote that same day. Recall that the land initially belonged to his uncle, Usman Dantata who after the incident retired to KANO and died in agony of what happened.

Dangote used his contacts in government to frustrate a competitor. It took a whole year to eventually secure land as the Chairman’s late father had to come to his rescue by closing one of his thriving businesses in Lagos and gift the land to BUA Chairman, Abdul Samad Rabiu. This is the story behind the Lagos sugar refinery and Dangote’s various efforts to ensure the dream never materialised.

BUA also revealed how it ventured into cement industry in 2007 after the late President Yard Adua in a bid to break the monopoly in the sector granted licences to six other companies. BUA’s innovative efforts in using a floating terminal as its cement factory met with resistance. It was not allowed to operate in Lagos and when it moved to Port Harcourt to berth in a terminal owned by the company those who felt threatened ensured that it would not operate until the late President Yar Adua had to wade in and asked the Minister of Transport and NPA to allow the company breathe.

Despite Yard Adua’s intervention, they still went ahead to use a DCG in Immigration Department, Orwell Brown to frustrate BUA by abducting the company’s expatriate staff, and attempted to return them to Asia after flying them from Port Harcourt to Lagos. Tickets for the flight to Asia were believed to have been purchased by Dangote. Information later leaked that the DCG operated in agreement with his brother who was a top Dangote staff. It took the intervention of the then Chief Economic Adviser, Tanimu Yakubu who called the Immigration CG to stop the illegal deportation while the President moved in by sacking the compromised DCG.

BUA also chronicled how Dangote did all he could to ensure that the company’s cement plant in Edo did not take off but for the intervention of President Buhari who had to call Governor Obaseki to ensure that no staff lost their jobs and the plant must not be shut down. Leaked mails indicating how Dangote staff sponsored thugs against BUA factory are also available in public media sphere.

Again when BUA attempted to open its Port Harcourt sugar refinery which is today, West Africa’s largest, and the only one outside of Lagos, Dangote did everything to stop the project. It took the intervention of the Presidency for BUA to have its way. Obviously, Dangote has always been scared stiff of competition and Dangote Group’s relationship with BUA in the last 32 years revealed much of this.

In its response to Dangote’s sponsored advert, BUA claimed it has survived not on patronage but because it is committed to innovation, integrity and inclusiveness and everyone seems to agree with this. ‘Our history is not one of being handed anything on a silver platter’. The statement further revealed how in the years between 1991 and now the ‘company has been cast as the antagonists in a narrative woven with malice’.

BUA urged the Dangote group to play the game by the rules, urging that, ‘while we may share the marketplace, we need not share malice’, adding that it had nothing to do with Dangote’s current self-inflicted issues.

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