Edo Govt. closes down disputed Obu mine site, says order from ‘above’

Edo Government has ordered the immediate shutdown of disputed Obu Mine site in Okpella community of the state.

Governor Godwin Obaseki gave the order when leaders of Okpella community paid him
a courtesy visit at Government House in Benin on Monday.

The governor said that the temporary closure followed a directive from Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and to avoid any breakdown of law and order in the community.

He directed security operatives in the state to ensure there were no operations at the mine site until further instructions from the ministry.

Obaseki said “I am particularly concerned because of the security implication of this impasse on Okpella community.

“The issues are clear; two entities cannot own the same asset, particularly in an industry like mining with international best practices and processes for determining ownership rights. I don’t believe that Nigeria is different.

“When there is a dispute as per ownership, there are laid down globally accepted ways of resolving these disputes. People cannot resort to self-help in a country where there is rule of law.”

The Legal Counsel to the Okpella community, Dr Ayuba Giwa, said the visit was to submit a copy of the letter sent to the presidency on the lingering issue between Dangote Group Plc and BUA International Limited over the ownership of Obu Mines in the community.
Giwa added that the community wanted peace to reign and was ready to accommodate all investors.

He condemned the use of youth militias to protect perceived rights to solid minerals and pleaded with the state government to constitute a technical team to resolve the issue.

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