30th April, 2014
Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Wednesday mandated Committees on Steel, Priviatisation and Commercialisation and Justice to investigate the concession of the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill (ASRM).
It also mandated three standing committees to also probe the affairs and failure of the mill and report back to the house for further legislative actions.
The resolution followed a motion by Rep. Ben Nwankwo (PDP-Anambra), which was unanimously adopted without debate when put to vote by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Emeka Ihedioha.
Nwankwo, while moving the motion, noted that the mill and National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMC) in 2005 were concessioned to two India firms without due diligence.
According to him, the concessionaires, Global Infrastructure Holdings Limited and Global Steel Holdings Limited, allegedly operated in ways contrary to the concession agreement.
He said that due to complaints on the operation of ASRM and NIOMC by the concessionaires, the Federal Government revoked the concession agreement of ASRM in 2007.
This, he said, led to protracted arbitral proceedings at the International Centre for Commercial Arbitration in London.
The lawmaker said that the pendency of the arbitral proceedings further compounded the woes of the mill.
He, however, said that recent disclosures indicated that the Federal Government had “successfully’’ reacquired ASRM from Global Infrastructure Holding Limited in circumstances not clear.
He said that the fate of NOIMC was still not clear.
Nwankwo expressed concern that the employment potentials of the mill had not been exploited.
He said that when fully operational, the rolling mill was capable of generating no fewer than 15,000 direct employments.
He, therefore, urged the house to look into the matter so that the lofty ambitions of the mill’s founding fathers of meeting the nations steel needs and providing employment were achieved. (NAN)