Dangote exposes oil mafia’s sabotage attempts against $19bn refinery project

Aliko Dangote, founder of the Dangote Group, has exposed attempts by local and international criminal organizations, which he termed as “mafia”, to disrupt his $19 billion refinery project situated in Lagos.

Speaking at the Afreximbank Annual Meetings, Dangote likened these oil cartels to a formidable force, stronger even than drug cartels, determined to maintain their dominance in the industry.

He expressed surprise at the intensity of the opposition, stating, “Well, I knew that there would be a fight. But I didn’t know that the mafia in oil, they are stronger than the mafia in drugs. I can tell you that. Yes, it’s a fact.”

Despite facing numerous challenges, Dangote emphasized his resilient spirit, noting, “But I’m a person that has been fighting all my life. You know, so I think it’s part of my life to fight.”

Highlighting specific adversities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dangote revealed that international banks attempted to force his project into default, which could have jeopardized its progress.

He acknowledged the pivotal role played by institutions like Afreximbank in thwarting these threats, enabling the refinery project to continue.

Addressing financial milestones, Dangote disclosed that he has successfully repaid $2.4 billion of the $5.5 billion borrowed for the refinery, showcasing progress despite the challenges.

Furthermore, Dangote unveiled plans to expand into the steel sector, aiming for self-sufficiency using exclusively Nigerian-produced steel.

Recently, Dangote Refinery postponed its initial petrol sales launch from June to July 10-15 due to minor logistical issues, underscoring ongoing efforts to ensure operational readiness.

The revelations by Dangote underscore the complex dynamics and challenges faced in establishing large-scale industrial projects in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

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