Chairman, Dangote Industries Limited Aliko Dangote and the chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc John Coumantaros have petitioned the Federal Government over the new sugar refinery plant linked to BUA Group.
They jointly wrote a letter to the minister of industry, trade and investment dated January 28, 2021, accusing BUA’s refinery in Bundu Free Trade Zone, Port Harcourt, Rivers of undermining the national sugar master plan (NSMP).
But BUA Group chairman Abdul Samad Rabiu, in his reaction, said its project is governed under the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) Act and the Free Zone approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Minister of industry, trade and investment Adeniyi Adebayo confirmed the rancour among the operators to ThisDay on Thursday, although
“Unfortunately I’m unable to comment as the matter is already sub judice. Thank you very much for your understanding,” he said.
Rabiu, in his response dated February 11, 2021, said it is a well-known fact “in Nigeria and anywhere in the world that wherever Dangote is operating in any sector or business, he seeks to muscle out competition through any means necessary” and “this scenario is playing out again in this case.”
He wrote: “It is however strange that his current co-conspirator, John Coumantaros, a Greek/American national, was once a victim of Dangote’s. If we recall, he experienced similar issues at the hands of his co-conspirator which subsequently led to his arrest alongside his elderly father by the EFCC.
“They were detained for over a week because he decided to [do] cement business through UNICEM. In the end, the Coumantaros had to sell their business to save themselves. This is also matter of public record. They are only just acting as friends in connivance because of their interest to push out competition and create a monopoly for themselves.”
He added that his company would continue to comply with the obligations of the NSMP and backward integration programme.