‘It Is Wickedness For One Man To Produce Cement In Nigeria’

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The Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, HRM King Obukohwo Monday Whiskey JP, Udurhie I, amid the escalating prices of cement in Nigeria, has made a passionate appeal to President Bola Tinubu for the reopening of the shuttered Madewell Cement factory located in Idjerhe.

In a conversation with Vanguard on Monday, the monarch also urged the renewal of licenses for all cement producers whose permits had been revoked, highlighting the need for a more competitive and efficient economy in the cement production sector.

The king expressed his concerns over the monopolistic tendencies in the cement industry, describing it as “wickedness for only one person to be at the forefront in the production of cement in Nigeria.”

He said, “It is 15 years ago or let’s say 12 years ago, when the project was brought down by cabals in the cement industry. It had already created over 2000 direct jobs and over 10,000 indirect jobs to the Nigerian economy.

“As a king of this land, I see pain and I believe that with the coming in of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. A man who is business oriented, a man who is economically viable, he knows the importance of the cement sector to the Nigerian economy. If we must make development of shelter as one of the basic requirements of human existence.

“And when the place was shut down, a lot of young men, a lot of artisans were working here lost their jobs. I came here to plead with Mr. President to revisit or grant the re issue of the six licenses that were issue at regional business.

“The Cement industry is too large for one man or one company to deal in, no individual can do this. As we speak of the 500,000 metric tonne that was approved for Madewell Portland cement. Only 50,000 metric tonne of this came to Nigeria. It was disposed of in less than four or five months there’s still over 450,000 metric tonne in China.

“As it is, I and the good people have agreed to plead with the federal government to revisit that injustice that was done to our great son, Prince David Iweta. MD/CEO Madewell cement, that was done to a South South son, that was done to a Nigeria who is business oriented, who believes in the right way of doing things.

“Madewell as an industry player is being very patriotic. Some of them went to court. They collected a huge amount of money from the federal government. But he didn’t go to court because he believed that a day like this will come. And I believe that Mr. President as a listening President will listen to this very important cry and order.

“The re-opening of the factory will help to resolve the high demand for cement. As we speak, no 2, or 3, or 4 companies can get enough cement to meet cement consumption for Nigerians. So the best decision the government took then was to ensure that there is a Portland cement factory, one in each region that is outside the major players and this the licenses that were issued to them was for them to first import cement.

“They were given clearance for 500,000 metric tonne of import. By the time you are done with that you would have made arrangement for your production. And that was what Prince David the waiter and his group were doing diligently as at the time this factory was shut down.

“They only had taken delivery of 50,000 metric tons of the product and what that translates to is that 450 million metric tons were still in China. And if you cannot bring in what you have borrowed money to bring to the country to sell.

“You can’t be talking about production. But an individual who wrote a petition telling government of Nigeria that they have no reason to import cement that those who are importing should be stopped so that he remains the only authority in cement industry in Nigeria. I think it is wicked. I think it is wrong, I think is an option that is not viable, the government ought to know that.”

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