26 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said that there is a conspiracy against the development of steel in Nigeria.
He made the statement at a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited ASCL.
At the hearing on the matters surrounding the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and the National Iron Ore Mining Limited (NIOMCO), Fayemi while presenting his speech to the Committee, said although “there is a general conspiracy against steel development in Nigeria but government will do everything possible to make sure Ajaokuta work”.
The session which was attended by Stakeholders which include the President of the African Iron and Steel Association, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and the leader of the Ajaokuta/Itakpe Revival Movement, Barr. Natasha Hadiza Akpoti.
Members of the host community include; Hon. A.K Salihu, a two times House of Representatives Member, Comr. Baba Razak, the President-General of the Ebira Youth Congress and host of others.
The Hon. Minister of Solid minerals Development was invited by the Senate Committee led by Sen. Samuel Anyanwu as the chairman alongside Sen. Dino Melaye and others were also present.
After a brief introduction, Hon. A. K. Salihu stood up to present the petition which captured the setbacks ASCL has suffered, the job opportunities it could provide if completed and demands of the host community to see that ajaokuta is brought to completion by the Federal Government.
The Senate committee after receiving the petition, called on the Minister to respond.
The minister in his response, appreciated the role of the host community.
He said that there were a lot of litigations the Ministry is facing, saying that Ajaokuta was not yet released to the Federal Government.
According to him, GINL insisted on taking over the Port Harcourt Railway and Delta steel as condition to releasing Ajaokuta to the Federal Government.
However, he said National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) has been given to GINL for a start.
He said “we have received solicited interest from more than eleven companies for the completion of ASCL. A meeting shall be held with the Acting President soon and Ajaokuta shall be released to us”.
He went further to say that the Federal Government is looking forward to getting a company to take ASCL as a whole but if it cannot find, then Ajaokuta Steel will be unbundled.
According to him, ASCL is 95%completed.