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Dangote’s 50kg Cement Costs Between N4,000 To N4,600, While Cement Sells At An Average Price Of N6,216 In Benin Despite Government’s Regulation

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The allegation that went viral on social media last week that Dangote Cement Plc was selling a bag of 50kg cement to Nigerians at an exploitative rate of N5,200 while it sells the same quantity of cement at N1,500 in the Republic of Benin was not true.

According to Thisday’s investigation in Cotonou at the weekend, it’s revealed that Dangote Cement was not on sale in Cotonou or anywhere in the Republic of Benin. While Dangote does not officially export cement to Benin Republic, it only uses the country as its transit route to export cement to Togo.

It was discovered that the average price of 50kg (32.5r) bag of cement in Benin Republic was N6,216, which was about 4,200 Cefa).

Further investigation in cement depots in Akpakpa, Ghandi and Etoile Rouse (Red Star) sections in Cotonou, shows that the price of 50kg bag of cement goes for 4,000 Cefa, 4,100 Cefa and 4,200 Cefa at different cement depots in Cotonou.

In addition, Thisday was told that the same quantity of cement goes for 4,500 Cefa (about N6,660) in Parakou, which was the largest city in northern Benin because of transport and logistics costs.

This implied that the average prices of 50kg bag of cement in Cotonuo and Parakou were N6,068, and N6,660 respectively, at the parallel market exchange rate of 1.00 Cefa to N1.48.

The two strongest determinants of the price of cement in the Republic of Benin were the fixing of cement’s price by the country’s government to ensure stability and the imposition of about 51 percent duty and other taxes on imported cement to discourage importation of the commodity and encourage local production of cement.

Among the leading cement brands in Cotonou are Cimbenin Buffle, Ciment Bouclier, Nouvelle Cimenterie du Benin and the Ciment Diamant, which a manufactured in the country. These are mainly 32.5R grade in contrast to Dangote Cement’s 42.5R cement grade that is on sale in Nigeria.

An online publication had published a story on August 27, 2023, in which it had stated that, “Nigerians have taken to social media to call out billionaire Aliko Dangote for selling his bag of cement for N5,200 in his own country but selling at N1,500 in Benin Republic.”

The online publication had reported that “a Twitter user identified as @drpenking called out Dangote for selling his bag of cement for N5,200 in Nigeria despite the fact that the raw material is sourced locally in Nigeria.

“He (@drpenking) tweeted: ‘Dangote cement is produced in Nigeria. The raw material is sourced locally in Nigeria at almost zero cost. Nothing is imported. Almost zero taxes yet the price of cement is N5,200 in Nigeria and same is sold in Seme, Benin Republic at N1,500 . Sit & Explain to me (sic).’”

However, a Cotonou-based Chief Executive Officer of Marketing Challenge Agency (MCA), Mr. Dia Ibrahim Kola, in Cotonou last Friday said that the government of the Republic of Benin was striving to maintain stable price of cement in the country through price regulation regime instead of subsidising its supply.

Kola said: “There is only one price for cement in the country. This is 78,000 Cefa per tonne of cement. But the retail prices of 50kg bag of cement vary from 4,000 Cefa, 4,100 Cefa and 4,200 Cefa. But the price is higher in Parakou in the northern part of the country” where it oscillates between 88,000 Cefa and 90,000 Cefa per tonne.”

He said the country’s policy was to discourage importation of cement and encourage its local production with high import duty and taxes for cements that does not qualify under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Schem (ETLS).

“We have about four cement manufacturers, including Lafarge and others. The government has a fixed price and often sent taskforce to monitor compliance especially in Cotonou. “But it is important to emphasise that government does not subsidise the price of cement in Benin. There was a period of high scarcity that the price went up to CFA 100,000 per tonne, which forced the government to intervene to stabilise the market,” he said.

Kola recalled that the only time he had seen Dangote Cement being sold in the country was four years ago by a Nigerian woman around Igolo, that is close to the Nigerian border, adding that she might have smuggled it in.

However, the management of Dangote Cement Plc has clarified that the price of a bag of cement from its factories across Nigeria as at August 28, 2023, was N4,010 (about 2,730 Cefa) in Okpella and N4,640 (about 3,135 Cefa) in Ibese, Objana, and Gboko.

It added that transportation costs and the location of delivery, might cause the prices to hover between N5,000 and N5,300 per bag 50kg.

This clarification was made in view of recent misinformation that the company sells cement in Nigeria at significantly higher prices relative to other countries, particularly the Republic of Benin, and other neighbouring countries.

Dangote Cement’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Arvind Pathak, advised that it was important to distinguish Dangote Cement’s ex-factory prices from prices at which retailers sell cement in the market. Pathak said Dangote Cement was focused on delivering quality cement at the best price possible, despite the current inflationary environment.

“We continue to innovate new ways to deliver quality products to millions of our customers across Africa, while providing top-notch customer services. At Dangote Cement, we are committed to building an inclusive and sustainable business for all stakeholders across the value chain,” he said.

BIG STORY

JUST IN: FG Bans Production Of Movies Featuring Money Rituals

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The federal government has prohibited the production and distribution of any movies or cinematography that feature money rituals and glamourising vices.

Shaibu Husseini, CEO of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) made this known at an event in Enugu State on Wednesday.

The event was organised by the NFVCB and Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).

Movie producers, directors, actors from different parts of the country, and leaders of various guilds and associations in the Nigerian film industry were present at the event.

Husseini said, “Today, we are facing an industry emergency requiring bold and ambitious actions from all parents, guardians, and stakeholders. When my predecessor approached the former Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, on the need to make subsidiary legislation to curtail the display of smoking in Nigerian movies, he saw the need to include money rituals.

“Others included in the regulation are ritual killings and glamorising other crimes in order to further sanitise the film industry. Today, I am delighted to announce to you that the Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, pursuant to section 65 of the NFVCB Act 2004, has approved the regulation.”

He added, “The minister has approved the ‘prohibition of money ritual, ritual killing, tobacco, tobacco products, nicotine product promotion and glamorisation display in movies, musical videos and skits regulations 2024’. We have also forwarded the approved copy to the Federal Ministry of Justice for Gazette.”

Mr Husseini said the sensitisation programme was to educate stakeholders on the danger inherent in smoking in Nigerian movies.

According to him, besides the health implications, glamorising smoking in films poses a negative influence on teens and young adults, who constitute the largest segment of Nigerian movie viewers.

He said the film board was set to undertake detailed enlightenment programmes in secondary schools, tertiary institutions, local communities, faith groups and other institutions.

The NFVCB boss said, “As you all know, the film industry occupies a central position in the entertainment and creative sector, and it is imperative that we continue to place the highest premium on the progress of the film industry.

“The NFVCB supports smoke-free movies and supports smoke-free Nollywood, and we therefore seek your collaboration to develop creative content that discourages smoking and promotes positive health messages.”

He noted that after a series of engagements, the NFVCB, in collaboration with the CAPPA, decided to make “subsidiary regulations” to address smoking in movies since this aspect was not expressly spelt out in the extant law.

(c) News Agency of Nigeria.

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President Tinubu Appoints Shehu Mohammed As FRSC Corps Marshal

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Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has appointed Shehu Mohammed as the corps marshal and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Segun Imohiosen, director of information in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (AGF), announced the appointment in a statement on Wednesday.

Imohiosen said the appointment is for an initial period of four years with effect from May 20.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has approved the appointment of Assistant Corps Marshal Mohammed Shehu as the Corps Marshal/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),” the statement reads.

“President Tinubu tasks the appointee to bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment.”

Mohammed will succeed Dauda Biu as the FRSC corps marshal.

In December 2022, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Biu as the substantive corps marshal of the FRSC.

Before the appointment, Biu was the acting corps marshal of the commission.

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JUST IN: Verydarkman Remanded In Police Custody For Cyberbullying, Hearing To Hold Next Wednesday

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The controversial social media critic Martin Otse, also known as VeryDarkMan, has been placed under arrest till his next hearing, which is scheduled for this Wednesday of next week.

Otse reportedly entered a not guilty plea to five counts of cyberstalking involving the Nigerian police, Nollywood actresses Iyabo Ojo and Tonto Dike, when he was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

The police prosecuting team told Judge Mobolaji Olajuwon that they needed more time to react to his lawyer Deji Adeyanju’s bail plea, thus the court postponed the bail hearing to May 29.

The prosecution sought to have the blogger remanded in prison custody, but his lawyers successfully argued for his remand in police custody instead.

The court granted this request, and Verydarkman was subsequently taken to the National Cybercrime Centre.

The charges against him read, “1. Posting a video on October 29, 2023, on his Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’ that contained offensive, pornographic, or menacing information, falsely alleging that Iyabo Ojo had an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter, violating Section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.

“That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 29th October 2023, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’, which video contained information that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character wherein you stated that one Iyabo Ojo is having an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter knowing or having reasons to believe that the information in the video you posted on your Instagram handle is false and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

2. Posting a video on January 19, 2024, on Instagram, falsely accusing King Tonto Dikeh of criminal conversion of crowdfunding proceeds and being behind the Gistlover blog, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 3 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th January 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing the information you know or had reasons believe to be false, wherein in the video you falsely published that King Tonto Dikeh is accused of criminal conversion of the proceeds of crowdfunding for Justice for Mohbad Movement, and being the person behind the gistlover blog, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the person of the said King Tonto Dike and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015

3. Posting a video on March 19, 2024, alleging that senior police officers and lawmakers were involved in sexual activities with Bobrisky, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 4 That you, Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja, on or about 19th March 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’, containing information which you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated the following, ‘I put it to you say the DIGs of the Police dem dey knack Bobrisky. The senators for senate house dey knack Bobrisky…I dare the Nigeria Police, I said what I said, the DIGs are knacking him, the Lawmakers, the Senate are knacking him in the National Assembly’ which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the persons of the DIGs of the Nigeria Police Force and members of the National Assembly and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

4. Posting another video on March 19, 2024, claiming that Bobrisky was pimping young boys to senators and senior police officers, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 5 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th March, 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing information you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated that Bobrisky is pimping young boys for Senators and Senior Police Officers to sleep with, which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury.”

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