*Every company & the individuals involved in Ajaokuta mess shall be held accountable – Hon Akinlade
29 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos —The House of Representatives Committee on Steel led by the Chairman, Hon. Idris Lawal has called out the Ministers of Mines and Steel and Solid Minerals and other concerned government authorities who failed to appear at the investigative hearing to receive a MoU from Kogi Elders Forum on Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) on Friday.
The Chairman alongside ten other members lamented the lackadaisical manner of the ministers regarding Ajaokuta Steel Company. “Let them tell Nigerians or resign if they are not capable of handling those ministries” the Committee proclaimed.
Akinlade representing Ekiti West raised a point of order on the Ministers’ absence. “Are the Ministers above those they are representing and in whose interest they are ministers?” Akinlade asked. He braced the committee to take a very strong action against those toiling with the people’s destiny while they ensure the decision of the people takes the lead on the matter.
He urged the Committee to take a very strong action against those toiling with the people’s destiny.
The lawmaker commended the individual effort of Barr. Natasha Akpoti which he described as not just being patriotic but humanitarian for a just course.
He commended the elders and the stakeholders for their time and good will. Akinlade also vowed that every company and Individual involved in the Ajaokuta dilemma and mess must be held accountable for their roles.
He urged every concerned authority in the Ajaokuta saga to bury their personal interest and ego while things are done in the interest of the country and the people.
The lawmaker representing Adavi/Okehi, Kabiru Ajana also expressed anger over the unpatriotic roles of those charged with managing Ajaokuta.
He reaffirmed that the Committee will get down the Ministers to ensure a way forward even if the House is on recess.
Ajana said that it is high time we took back our destiny as Nigerians while emphasizing the need for sacrifice if the dream of the Ajaokuta project is to be realised.
He vehemently faulted the agreement signed between the Federal Government and the Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited saying that it was full of flaws and not in the interest of the people and the House will use every section of the Constitution to right the wrongs.
“The government must realise that diversification is unrealistic without the steel sector being developed,” Ajana added.
The Committee resolved to send a strong warning to the Ministers in question and as well invite them once again, and if they fail to honour their calls to duty, the House shall issue an order for their arrest. They agreed on their possible reconvening before the end of August 2017.
Also, the Kogi Elders Forum stressed that the people have been taken for a ride for too long on the Ajaokuta/Itakpe steel projects which they faulted underscoring the lack of transparency exhibited by those saddled with the responsibility.
Speaking through the Chairman, Barr. Julius the Elders decried the state of Ajaokuta after series of concessions. “We have been taken for granted for too long, we need sincere action by the federal government. Ajaokuta is a responsibility of all Nigerians and if the government officials are not ready to carry out their duties, we will make them do. Enough is enough on public deceit”.
Others among the Elders Forum include; Dr. Tom Adaba (OON), Arc. Gabriel Aduku (OON), former minister of state for health, Alh. Isah Ozi Salami, Dr. Samson Sani Ameh (SAN), Alh. Idris Yusuf Tawari, Chief Dr. Rekiya Momoh. Also present were; the sole administrators of ASCL and NIOMCO, United Labour Congress, ISSSAN, Ebira Youth Congress President General and some Royal Chiefs and other stakeholders.
The leader of the Ajaokuta/Itakpe Revival Movement, Barr. Natasha Akpoti commended the Elders and the stakeholders for their positive roles in the struggle. She appreciated the House Committee for their patriotism towards the exercise. She then appealed to the people mostly the Elders not to be tired until they achieve the Ajaokuta of their desire.
Natasha urged the Committee to extend her invitation beyond the Mine and Steel ministries down to the ministry of Justice, BPE and EFCC in order to tackle all legal matters surrounding the steel company. She also draws the attention of the committee to some fictitious amount being used by some Kangaroo committee to render Nigeria helpless in ASCL/NIOMCO deal house.
She also drew the attention of the Committee to some fictitious amount being used by some ‘Kangaroo Committee’ to render Nigeria helpless in ASCL/NIOMCO deal.
She charged the Committee to investigate all the sham and invite the real owners of the said Indian company in which Nigeria is neck-deep to pay prices it never deserves so that Nigerians can know who to hold responsible if any thing goes wrong at ASCL/NIOMCO.
The human right activist insisted that the Ministers involved must speak in the language Nigerians understand and that they should be transparent in their transactions. “They should stop putting forth information as if everything is fine while nothing is fine at all.”
“We should not allow the worst of them rule the best of us,” Natasha pointed out, adding that “both international and local conspiracies must be brought to an end.” “Nigeria is not a local player in steel we are international in it and we would appreciate if this honourable team put all these points together and as well pull all the stakeholders in the steel ecosystem together to discuss and take proper action because Nigeria is on the verge of a revolution.
Mr. Timothy, a member of the House Committee attributed the high level of international conspiracies against the steel company to some ‘local demons’ who never want Nigeria’s growth.
“Categorically, it is clear that the Ministers in charge of the project have a skeleton in their cupboard and that explains why they are shying always from interfacing with the people whose interest they are supposed to protect”.
He said the committee will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the actualisation of ASCL and NIOMCO. Even while on recess, we must meet and fashion a way out.
It is unfortunate that Nigeria cannot recognise the power of the steel sector. Steel is richer than oil if well developed. He urged everyone not to relent or give up on Ajaokuta because the future of this nation lies greatly in its success.
He urged everyone not to relent or give up on Ajaokuta because ‘the future of this nation lies greatly in its success’.
He urged Nigerians to put prayers as well as other machinery in motion to tackle this matter.