RUSAL denies BFIG group access to ALSCON plant in A’Ibom

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By Ogenyi Ogenyi, Uyo

Russian Aluminum, RUSAL, last weekend denied representatives of BFIG Corporation access to the Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, in Ikot Abasi Local Council of Akwa Ibom, after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of BFIG in an ownership suit.

The BFIG group led by it President Reuben Jaja and representatives of the Bureau of Public Enterprise were denied access to the plant while on an official tour to evaluate the state of the plant since the Supreme Court judgement last January.

The apex court had, ruled in favour of the BFIG group in the suite filed by the BPE, but the RUSAL, currently managing the smelters insisted that it had secured judgment from the London Court of Arbitration that ALSCON has been properly privatized.

The ALSCON gate was locked and secured by shoulders when BFIG officials arrived the premises while it took several hours of persuasions for officials of ALSCON to allow only two representatives of BFIG to go in and hold talks with the Russians.

Fielding questions from journalists at the ALSCON gate, lead Council to the BFIG group, Chief Patrick Ikwueti (SAN), said they were in ALSCON to begin the enforcement of the Supreme Court judgement on January 26,2024.

“We are here because following the last Supreme Court judgement over the ALSCON matter, the one that was given on the 26th of January, 2024, we had a meeting with the Attorney general of the federation and the BPE and we agreed on a number of things we have to do to fully enforce the Supreme Court judgement given on ALSCON since 2012, part of what we agreed was that we should have a visit to ALSCON facility here in Ikot Abasi.”Ikwueti explained.

He said though the BFIG representatives had limited access into the premises, the company is satisfied that ALSCON actually exist in terms of physical building, adding however that he does not know the state of the plant.

ALSCON Managing director, Dmitriy Zaviyalov had told the media that ALSCON had never been a party to the Supreme Court adding that it had agreed with the Nigerian government that the last court of Arbitration would be the London Court of Arbitration.

“You should understand that ALSCON is not a party to these suites in question. The BPE approached the Supreme Court taking BFIG to court, BPE is a representative of the Nigerian government that holds a small stake in ALSCON.

“Equally, you should understand that in our agreement with the Nigerian government, it was agreed that the last court of Arbitration would be the London Court of Arbitration” he said

But reacting to ALSCON’s claim, Ikwueti said that the Supreme Court in it last judgement underscored that the agreement was in itself a contempt of the court.

“While we were in court in 2004 and 2006, the Russians purportedly signed and agreement with BPE. That agreement was signed while the matter was still pending before court by induction of what they called Lease Spenders would be in effective.

“But the supreme court of Nigeria in 2012 was specific that there was an order of injunction perpetually restraining the BPE from negotiating, attempting, selling or transferring ALSCON to anybody. So, the Arbitration that you are talking about was based on SPA they claimed to have signed in 2006 while the matter was pending in court.

” The Supreme Court in it last judgement on 26th January, 2024 underscores that the agreement was, in itself a contempt of the court” Ikwueti stated.

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