Obaseki orders arrest of two employees of BUA over stop-work notice

Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki has ordered the arrest of two employees of BUA International Limited over alleged violation of a Stop Work order issued by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel.

 According to NAN, the order was due to the disputed Obu mine site located in the state.

The governor gave the arrest order on Wednesday when he visited the site and discovered that work was on-going in spite of the relaying directives from the Federal Government to stop work.

“The order is pending the determination of a court suit over the ownership of the mine site.’’

   Obaseki was accompanied by soldiers, policemen, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and DSS personnel in the state.

Obaseki said that the State Government was more interested in the security of lives and property and that as much as there were needs for investors to make returns on their investments, no money was worth any life.

“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.

“At that point, I issued instructions that the work should stop in line with the Federal Government 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,’’ he said.

The governor said it was regrettable that having gotten the directive, the management of BUA International Limited went on air to say that the State Government had no authority and right to enforce a Federal Government directive.

On his part, the Commissioner of Police in Edo, Mr Johnson Kokumo, maintained that since the ownership of the mining site was in court, both parties must obey court order.

The 4 Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahaim Garba, ordered retrieval of all explosives at Obu mining site.

At the Palace of the Okuokphellagbe of Okpella, Alhaji Andrew Dirisu, Obaseki said the visit to the site was to assure the people of the area that government was on top of the situation.

Dirisu said that the visit was to ensure peace in the community.

He commended the governor for ensuring peace in his domain, promising to assist the government to ensure that peace reigned in Okpella. (NAN)

   But, in a swift reaction, Bua in a statement issued by Group Head, Corporate Communications, O’tega Ogra, said: “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.”

  PHOTO CAPTION: Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (3rd from right), flanked by the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, Mr. Johnson Kokumo (2nd from left), Commander of 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Major General Ibrahim Garba (2nd from right) with other government officials and security personnel, at the  Obu mine site in Okpella, Edo State, where they arrested officials of  BUA Int’l Limited for violating a Stop Work Order, on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.