Ajaokuta Steel: Traditional Rulers Petition Senate, Accuse Senator Natasha of Stirring Controversies, ‘Unwarranted Public Outcry’

Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan

The Ebira Area Traditional Council has petitioned the Nigeria Senate and Senate President Godswill Akpabio alleging ploy by Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan (Kogi Central) to derail efforts by President Tinubu toward revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company.

The petition was jointly signed by the five district rulers in the central senatorial district, namely, HRH Mohammed Bello (Ohi of Adavi), HRH Musa Isah Achuja (Ohi of Eganyi), HRH Ahmed Abdulraheem (Ohi of Ihima), HRH Umar Opewu (Ohi of Eika) and HRH Isah Mamman (Ohi of Okene).

ebirareporters.com recalls that Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan had last week, moved a motion for the Senate to investigate alleged corruption and inefficiency at Ajaokuta Steel and National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) located in Kogi State.

The lawmaker also sought an investigation into the payment of $496m allegedly made to the Chairman, Global Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (GINL) by the Federal Government in September 2022 as settlement over ASL contractual disputes.

She believed that the investigation should uncover the circumstances that led to the re-concession of NIOMCO, as the initial concession agreement was validly terminated by the Yar’adua administration.

However, the motion and resolve to carry on with the investigation has been described by her traditional rulers as having the tendency to derail the pursuit of the resuscitation of the twin companies.

The Monarchs accused the lawmaker of acting in isolation and without the input of critical stakeholders in the Senatorial district,stating that her motion was an “unwarranted public outcry.”

Part of the petition noted “It is important to note that recent events associated with actions of the Senator representing the People of Kogi Central, Senator Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan relating to a call for investigation of the two major federal government investments in Ebiraland calls for caution. |C Maxwell said ‘people are dynamic and must be led through love and relationship.’ This is what representative democracy also preaches and we make bold to state that her current effort was NOT discussed with critical stakeholders in the Senatorial District and neither were we consulted as people she represents and as our servant.

“Taking fundamental decision as this without inclusive consultations amounts to burning the bridge of democratic principles of consultations and this action is not acceptable to us. We urge that she should not be encouraged, as this type of actions will scare away would be investors and it is counterproductive.”

They further noted that the companies had been probed severally in the last four civilian administrations with various positions taken to no avail, adding that going the same route again is wasteful.

The Ebira Area Traditional Council further accused the lawmaker of stirring controversies, capable of scaring genuine investors away.

The rulers while commending present efforts by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, cautioned lawmakers from Kogi State to be responsive, collaborative and avoid personal interests and stoking of sentiments.

“Our position therefore Is that, our Legislators MUST cooperate with the Honorable Minister of Steel Development, the Management of the two Companies and Stakeholders to come up with workable positions and ideas that would strength the hand of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR to ensure that Alaokuta Steel Plant Works and should not work at cross purposes.

“After all, apart from the duties of Legislations, the National Assembly has the responsibilities of assisting the Executive in providing conductive and enabling environment for the growth and economic development of the nation. This can only be achieved through collaboration and constructive cross-fertilization of genuine ideas and not through combative and divisive approach.

“We should not waste energy on issues/matters that are likely to create distrust, lack of interest that will become a scare-monger to both investors and the Governments,” they said.

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