Taraba State government and Dangote group of companies on Tuesday signed an agreement for the take off of the multi-million dollar Lau sugar company located in Lau local government area of the state.
At the signing ceremony in Jalingo, Taraba state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Yusufu Akirikwen said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed 13 years ago, but when the present administration took over, it discovered some grey areas in the MoU, leading to a review of the exercise.
“After a careful study of the MoU, we discovered that there was no provision for the local people whose land have been collected for the project and the state government was not having any stake in the deal.
“We have renegotiated the agreement and today we have 6 percent equity share in the company and the interest of the local people taken care of in the new deal,” he said.
Speaking shortly after signing the review agreement, Honourary Adviser to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Engr. Joseph Makoju, described the signing of the agreement as historic, signifying the official take off of the project after 13 years of waiting.
Makoju who said he was inspired by governor Ishaku’s passion and commitment to the take-off of the project, commended the governor for clearing all the hurdles on the way of the project.
“Dangote group is committed to making the country self-sufficient in rice and sugar after our success story in cement business and that is why Lau Sugar project is very important to us.
“We are mindful of the governor’s instance that the project must benefit the local people and we are equally committed in that regard. In all the places we are doing business, we embarked on Community Social Responsibility (CSR) projects that are beneficial to the host community and Lau would not be an exception.
On how soon the project would take off, Engr. Makoju said already part of their team were on ground planting sugar cane seedlings at the site of the project and that with the signing of the agreement the project has officially commenced.
Taraba governor, Darius Ishaku who was visibly elated over the signing of the agreement thanked the CEO of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for his patience over the years and promised to complete the remaining phase of the Jalingo Lau road to ease movement to the site.
Ishaku further said he will assign a desk officer to the project who will be giving him weekly report to ensure its smooth take off, assuring the people that the project would develop them and the state.
Our reporter gathered that the project which is to cover 36, 000 hectares of land is taking off with 15,463 hectares for the first phase.