What Crime Did lbeto Commit? His Crime is being an Igboman
When President Obasanjo encouraged local production of cement,the Manager of Ibeto cement factory promised to flood Nigerian market with cement and drastically reduce the price of the product.
Ibeto fulfilled his promise and flooded the country with cement. The result was that the price of cement crashed. This jolted Dangote cement and affected his business adversely.
Aliko Dangote wrote a petition to former President Olusegun Obasanio kicking against the authority the federal government Ibeto granted to import 800,000 metric tons of cement.
Fomer President Olusegun Obasanjo issued a directive that Ibeto was not allowed to import cement into the country until it proved its investment in local production. Dangote was allowed to import cement.
Thousands of staff of lbeto cement were rendered jobless.
When late President Umaru Yar’ Adua succeeded Obasanjo, Ibeto, in July 2007, applied for import allocation and it was granted. Once again, he flooded the country with quality cement, and the prices crashed.
Dangote Cement PLC quickly filed a suit alleging that Ibeto Cement Company is gaining undue advantage by the federal government.
On its part, the Federal Government, contended that Dangote Cement PLC is plotting to wipe out fair competition and create a monopoly in the industry and transform itself to the only cock that crows in Nigeria.
But Ibeto further filed terms of settlement, which were entered as consent judgment in the suit.
In line with the consent judgment, it will continue to import 1.5million metric tons of cement per annum for the period between 1 October, 2007 and 30 September, 2017.
This was in line with the Federal Government guarantee conveyed a letter by the Ministry of Trade and Industry dated 5 June 2002.
By the judgment, the Federal Government was to pay Ibeto Cement Company the sum of $40 million and N1,885,813,592(N1.9billion). The amount is the verified claims by the inter-ministerial committee of the federal government for losses suffered by Ibeto from the unjustified closure of its bagging plant between December, 2005 and when it resumed operations in October, 2007.
But Dangote Cement PLC consented that its rights and interests were affected by the consent judgment.
Dangote argued that the continuance of lbeto cement makes Dangote cement expensive.
However, the Federal Government and six of its agencies, which are the other defendants in their counter-affidavit deposed to by one Emmanuel Joel, an Assistant Litigation Officer in the law firm of Kenna Partners, argued that Dangote Cement PLC filed the suit with only one intention, to wipe out competition in cement business and become a monopoly.
The Federal Government also contended that Dangote cement has no locus in filing the suit as the matter didnt concern them. It aveered that the suit instituted by Ibeto Cement against the Federal Government was not fraudulent. Furthermore, it argued that Dangote Cement was not a nominee or agent of government agencies, which are defendants in the suit, and is not acting on their behalf. It argued that that Dangote Cement Plc is not an agency of Federal Government with the statutory mandate of administering, managing or enforcing tax compliance, therefore lacking the locus standi to commence or maintain the legal action and seek the reliefs in the case.
Ibeto took cement to another level. It signed a contract agreement of
$368million with a China company Zhejiang Sinoma Engineering Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd to produce 6,000metric tons of Cement in Enugu State, south east Nigeria.
The contract covered crushing limestone mining, cement raw materials to packaging, shipped to the whole process and a 45MW captive power plant, covering engineering design, equipment, steel and material supply, civil works, installation, commissioning and personnel training.
Already, Ibeto Company operates a similar facility in Port Harcourt, River State which produces 6000tons of cement.
Dangote was afraid that his dominance and monopoly of cement production will be destroyed by lbeto.
Ibeto is a billionaire and one of the wealthiest men in Africa. As at 2013, he was estimated to be worth about $3.7 billion dollars by Ventures Africa.
His Petrochemical Industries Limited which manufactures oil lubricants and other various petroleum products both for local and international trade has the largest liquid storage facility for petroleum products in Nigeria, with a large capacity to store over 60,000 metric tons, and is located at the Apapa Warf and the Ibru Jetty Complex in Lagos, Nigeria.
President Buhari came into power.
Ibeto Company applied for foreign exchange from the CBN but was denied. Dangote applied and was granted. He has continued to enjoy all manner of waiver.
Like Dangote did during the Obasanjo regime , he was said to have approached his Fulani brother. Buhari banned lbeto cement because they are afraid of competition from a south eastern lgbo man who comes from the wrong part of the country.
They know that lbeto has the ability to overthrow Dangote as the richest man in Africa and he must be stopped by all means.
Fllowing the closure of lbeto cement by Buhari, the prices of cement jumped from N1,500 to N 2,500 and Dangote is smiling to the bank.
Ibeto's account is frozen. Dr.Cletus lbeto has been arrested several times, questioned by security agencies, harassed, humiliated and intimidated.
There is no law in the Nigerian law books that Ibeto company has breached.
What then is his crime? Is it because he is lgbo?