© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
With a bill, 301 reps oppose FG’s planned Ajaokuta steel complex concession
All 301 members of the House of Representatives have jointly sponsored a bill aimed at stopping the Federal Government from going ahead with its proposal to concession the Ajaokuta Steel complex.
The bill, titled ‘A bill for an act to provide for the Ajaokuta steel company completion fund for the speedy completion of the project and other related matters’, was presented during Thursday’s sitting of the lower legislative chamber by Nkem Abonta, on behalf of the other lawmakers
The major aim of the bill is the provision of funds for the speedy completion of the steel plant, which is now moribund despite the huge amounts of money already sunk into the project.
Similarly, another bill, titled ‘A bill for an Act to amend the Public Enterprise (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act to review the list of enterprises to be privatised’, was also introduced to the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Like the first, the second bill was also jointly sponsored by the 301 members and was presented by Abonta. It seeks to delete the Ajaokuta steel company from the list of enterprises to be concessioned.
Both bills have scaled through second reading, and will now be sent to the relevant House committee for more input.
Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House, has been unequivocal about lower chamber’s opposition to concession the steel plant. Therefore, it is expected that the bill will receive expeditious consideration and will be passed within the shortest time possible.
Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, and Kemi Adeosun, his finance counterpart, had angered the legislators when they skipped a workshop organised by the House to discuss the merits and demerits of the proposed concession of the Ajaokuta steel plant.
The ministers had written the lawmakers, explaining that they already had prior engagements slated for the same day the workshop was scheduled to hold, but this did not go down well with them.
In fact, the lower legislative chamber resolved not to recognize Fayemi as honourable any longer. This was after Fayemi had allegedly said that the lawmakers could do nothing to stop the concession plan.
The sudden interest by the reps in the state of Ajaokuta steel complex was rekindled after ICIR published an investigation detailing the decay that has become of the steel plant, originally designed to be the largest steel manufacturing plant in Africa.