The Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom Obukohwo Monday Whiskey has urged President Bola Tinubu to grant cement manufacture and distribution licenses to more Nigerians as the country was too large for one many to monopolise production.
His Royal Majesty Monday Whiskey was speaking against the background of soaring cement prices and closure of Madewell Cement Factory in his domain by the government, causing the lost of 2,000 direct jobs and 10, 000 indirect jobs.
“ I see pain in the land 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 the development of shelter as one of the basic requirements of human existence,” he told the Vanguard.
“And when the place was shut down, a lot of young men, a lot of artisans who 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 issued 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 tonnes of this came to Nigeria. It was disposed of in less than four or five months; there’s still over 450,000 metric tonnes 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.
“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 that the licenses that were issued to them was for them to first import cement.
“They were given clearance for 500,000 metric tonnes of import. By the time you are done with that you would have made arrangements 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 wrote a petition telling the government of Nigeria that they have no reason to import cement and that those who are importing should be stopped so that he remains the only authority in the cement industry in Nigeria. I think it is wicked. I think it is wrong, I think it is an option that is not viable, the government ought to know that.”
Despite government intervention, the prices of cement remain high with top brands in the country Dangote and Bua going for between N11,00 and 12,500 depending on location. To many Nigerians, especially those trying to build their homes, this is a cut throat situation that has the potential to make more people homeless.

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