…Senator Melaye calls for Ajaokuta’s return to Russia
26 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Over 50% of the infrastructures inside the Ajaokuta Steel Company have been carted away by Pramod Mittal’s Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, GINL, Sweetcrude Reports has learnt.
This claim was made by Senator Dino Melaye in a speech before the Senate Committee Public Hearing on the matter.
The Senator revealed that after assessing the equipment inside Ajaokuta, it was discovered that more than half of what was installed had been carted away by GINL.
“Talking about GINL being on the Federal Government’s neck, there is a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Government and GINL which I have a copy in my archive. In transforming the steel infrastructures, there was an assessment report that was done on all the facilities as they were at the time of the agreement. The ministry of Mines and Steel can get that assessment report and find out if the infrastructures are in the same state as they were. Even without prejudice, I can tell you they are not because that place was extremely cannibalised. Over 50% of the infrastructures were taken from that place”, he said.
He then urged the Federal Government, to return the completion of the project to its original builders, Russia.
“There is no way Nigeria will not go back to the original designers of Ajaokuta if we must get it right,” he said.
According to the Senator, the public’s interest should be prioritised above personal interest in Ajaokuta Steel, saying already, lack of openness and greed have taken over bid for the project.
“Ajaokuta is one of the greatest development machines Nigeria is blessed with but unfortunately we allow it to suffer due to due to our insincerity and greed. I know how I have moved motions on Ajaokuta while in the House of Representatives which led to some committee that was constituted by the then President. All of its sudden, the whole effort went through the back door”.
“Also on stepping into the Senate, Ajaokuta was the first motion I moved for a quick action to be taken. And it is unfortunate that those top officials saddled with the responsibility rather see it as a way of enriching their pockets instead of making a good name for the project”, he said.
The Senator then asked for a lasting solution, urging that the Legislative arm, provide funding for the progress of the project.
“How to make Ajaokuta work is more important than all these public hearings and talk shows here and there. After all these series of public hearings, at the end of the day, we should have a solution. We must decide, the ministry of Solid Mineral must decide that they have the political will on how to move Ajaokuta forward. And the legislators must cooperate in providing the fund for it”.
“All these litigations the Minister has mentioned are not issues at all when the government is ready to move with sincerity. The issue of Ajaokuta has become national security that should override any litigation or order. Even in the Constitution, public interest should be a cardinal objective to overriding a lot of issues. Let public interest takes the lead on Ajaokuta issues”.
“I appeal to us to make a political decision that Ajaokuta should work for Nigerians. If not, this will be another jamboree and we come here to talk and Ajaokuta will remain the way it is. I am from Kogi state and I know that when Ajaokuta starts working it will not only be for the inhabitants alone, it is going to increase our IGR. It will help us technologically. If you go to Ajaokuta and see the intention and all the design, you will weep for this nation that we are unserious people”.
“Hon. Minister we must decide, it will be recorded against history that you were once a minister, your grandchildren will ask you what did you do for Ajaokuta? Let the Minister of Solid Mineral, former Governor of Ekiti state know the importance of Ajaokuta and handle it as if it is the only project. If he can fix Ajaokuta, history will be recorded in his favour for life as that minister who came and turned things around. We must keep personal interest and allow public interest to override”, he said.
Dino said GINL to have taken away most of the equipment, was enough for the company to have lost the contract.
“From every legal point of view, that is a breach of contract signed between Federal Government and GINL. That alone is enough to completely jettison the contract without the Federal Government paying a dime. I want you (the minister) to put your touch light on that perspective. We must look for areas where there is contravention of the agreement and the Federal Government capitalizes on these abuse and infractions committed against the Federal Government of Nigeria and become a condition for annulling whatever contract. We can even go to court. I will say, if that agreement is well written, the ministry in a genuine patriotism to the Federal Government of Nigeria, should begin to look at those areas of lacuna. Is the same for Delta steel Alaja and if you are able to establish that, it becomes a window to FG not to pay off people who have actually abuse agreement. And Hon. Minister, I’m ready to partner with you in that regard and I’m sure we will be successful at the end of the day”, he said.