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James Uduji: An astute Industrialist and detribalized Nigerian

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The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cometstar Group of Companies, of which Comestar Wire and Cable is the flagship, Chief James Uduji,  is a shrewd and astute businessman who has remained humble despite the many successes in his feather.


He is a man who has endured adversity, literally stared death in the face and emerged victorious. He has once again cut a blazing trail in the path of industry by being one of the few Nigerians to acquire mining rights in Zamfara, a state reputed to be rich in solid minerals like Gold.

The Nigerian Solid mineral industry has been rife with all manner of controversies, rumours of thefts by foreigners and illegal mining by bandits to fund their operations. It is one industry many astute business men and women have feared to thread.


Expectations have been high that the federal government should take the bull by the horns by sanitizing the industry and access the huge fortunes which many believe  exist  therein for the benefit of the suffering masses of Nigeria.


It is apparently in realization of this that the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Dele Alake revealed recently his ministry will contribute at least 50percent  to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP and attract foreign direct investment.


According to him,  from October, a rejuvenated security regime will become active in the sector and will include, the Mine Police who will be specially trained to detect illegal mining and apprehend offenders. The new mines surveillance Security Task Force will coordinate the Mines Police and pro- actively address high risk incidences of breach of mining laws. The federal and state governments will also be encouraged to allocate the prosecution of cases against illegal miners in competent courts.


Speaking on the area of focus towards improving the sector, the minister added that the ministry has identified several factors such as inefficient geo-data, weak implementation and enforcement, poor environmental, safety and health policies, fragility and conflict, unregulated artisanal mining, low technical capacity, lack of access to financing, weak inter-governmental and inter-agency coordination and weak federal/state relations amongst others.


However, Chief  Uduji can be described as a ‘man  of Issachar’ just like the biblical men of Issachar, who understood the times and  prepared ahead for the challenges and opportunities ahead of their kinsmen in the Bible.


He went ahead years ago, at a time when few Nigerian businessmen were looking at investing in the Solid Minerals Sector , to float a facility in Zamfara, harbouring many solid mineral resources in the country. He has, by this singular action, solidly positioned his company to take advantage of the transformational policies of the current government in the Solid Minerals Sector.


Speaking to journalists some months back, Uduji explained that he came to Zamfara about four years ago . Gifted with the sagacity to navigate the dynamics of doing business in Nigeria, he had carefully observed that there were several mineral resources in the state adding that ‘’we realized the need for investors to come here and invest and with the support of the community, the state and local governments, the sky will be their limit. I came to Zamfara with good intentions and I have come to stay’’.


An Industrialist from Achina in Aguata Local Government Area in Anambra State, Uduji has used his wealth and position to extend philanthropic gestures to humanity, thereby empowering many citizens to become successful in their chosen fields especially in his home town of Achina.


He has equally distinguished himself in his field of endeavor with his Cometstar Group of which the cable company located at Ogun State, is the flagship. Cometstar has  attained an enviable position in the cable market in Nigeria and has been around for close to two decades. The company which prides itself on the manufacture of consistent quality wires and cables that meet and exceed customers expectation  produces varieties of cables of international standard.


He has consistently contributed immensely to the realization of national goals and objectives through various activities in his chosen endeavors. Perhaps it was for this reason that he was conferred with the National Honour Award of The Officer Of The Order of The Niger, OON by ex-president Muhammadu Buhari.


Uduji is a man who has battled adversity that few men can ever face in their lifetime,  and emerged victorious only by the special grace of God. According to media reports, In 2015, he was kidnapped by the infamous kidnapper Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (aka Evans) and was injured on the shoulder   from the kidnappers bullet.


He was also held in their den for 45 days and was being given pain killers by Evans who posed as a doctor. His wound was being cleaned and dressed but no real attempt was made to extract the bullet which was lodged in his shoulder.

The kidnapping took place very close to his house at 7th Avenue in Festac Town, Lagos. He was inside his Hilux van with two of his drivers when the kidnappers who came in a Lexus 470 SUV started shooting towards his vehicle, at first he thought they were policemen but they pulled him out of his vehicle and dragged him inside their own.


He was only released after a ransom of $1.2 million was paid by his brothers. That amount was the highest ransom ever paid by any of Evans’ victims and indeed of any kidnap victim until the era of hersdmen and Boko Haram kidnappings began. Even at that, the kidnappers only released him eight days after the ransom was paid.

It is therefore not surprising that Uduji is a man who understands well, the importance of building bridges. After his kidnap saga , having discovered that Zamfara, has several mineral resources, he moved to the state and invested in a mining company, which today is dubbed, the biggest mining site in Zamfara.


His Mining Facility sits on 35 hectares in Anka local Government Area of Zamfara and boasts of a well equipped clinic, pipe-borne water, a standard restaurant and great hospitality accommodation. He said he got his licence from the federal government to engage in mining activity in Zamfara. He was fielding questions from newsmen concerning the controversy that Zamfara state is claiming ownership of all mineral deposits in the state.


He further explained that his company had existed in Zamfara for the past four years adding that any Nigerian that secures the mining licence from the federal government has the right to mine insisting that the state is not controlling any mining activity.


As part f efforts to reduce unemployment in the land, Uduji had recruited more than 300 workers in his payroll and optimistic that the company will employ 2000 more once the construction is finished and the ban on mining activities is lifted by the federal government. Luck obviously is on his side going by the blueprint  unveiled recently Alake, when he formally made public his Agenda for the transformation of Solid Minerals for International Competitiveness and Domestic Prosperity.


From all indications Uduji is courageous and upbeat about the bright future of the sector even as he advised Nigerians to be cautious before making comments concerning issues. Admitting that security in the state is not friendly, he said ‘’I thank God we have not witnessed any sad incidents in this company. I have been investing so much here and I believe the community, State and the entire nation will benefit from it’’.


As a good corporate citizen, his mining company has already made a lot of investments in the construction of roads in the community where it operates stressing that  ‘‘When we came in, the mining site could not be accessed by road, we constructed access roads for almost 12 months. The company is now accessible and with this development, the community is happy and the people are praying for our success.

A workaholic, philanthropist and man of  integrity as well as epitome of the versatility of the typical Igboman and his egalitarian outlook in life, Uduji describes himself as WAZOBIA. ‘’I am from Anambra but I have investments in the South West, Ogun State (where his Cometstar Wire and Cable has its headquarters), now I am here in Zamfara State, investing in huge mining project. I also have investments in the South East where I come from. Anywhere we are, is home’’.


Clearly his experience and the new policies in the sector have clearly put him in the position to build a company that can effectively compete with the foreign investors expected or to partner with the biggest amongst them, to better the lives of many Nigerians and help to boost our Gross Domestic Product(GDP).



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