Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has expressed reservations for any plan to once again concession the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, insisting that “Nigeria has the means to bring it back to life.”
Recalling how two of such attempts were made without success in the past, Dogara said: “No country of the world would concession its critical industrial base like the steel company. It was time the country stop repeating the wrong thing with expectation arriving at a new destination. We are tired of concessions, which in most cases are done with assets strippers.”
Dogara, who led members of the House of Representatives Committee on Steel Development, and accompanied by the Kogi state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and the Minister of State for Steel and Solid Minerals, Bawa Bwari, to the company yesterday, also said what was required to put the complex back to life was not money, but the will by leaders to do so.
“We have the money. The money is there; so if we do not do it, it is because we do not want to do it. We are not doing it for Kogi state; we are doing it for Nigeria. We are here because we believe that if we complete it, Nigeria will be better.”
It was disclosed yesterday that the company, which about $500 million was required to complete its last phase has a capacity to employ 10,000 technicians and engineers at take-off, and estimated two million other jobs to Nigerians.
“Any patriotic Nigerian who visits this complex will shed tears; any foreigner who comes here, even if he did not say anything, he will leave with a very bad impression of Nigeria. We as a House will kick-start the process that will lead to the company coming back to life.”
Earlier, Governor Bello charged the Speaker and his colleagues to liaise and collaborate with President Muhammadu Buhari to see the revival of the company, adding that he agreed with the Speaker that funds should not ordinarily be the problem, “since just a fraction of the looted funds recovered by the EFCC, is more than what is required to complete the project…”