Group Tasks EFCC, ICPC to Investigate Concession of Ajaokuta Steel

A group, Kogi Heritage Protection Advocacy, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the sudden plan by the federal government to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company and National Iron Ore Mining Company in Itakpe, Kogi State.

The spokesman of the group, Mr. Edward Jatto, while speaking at a press conference yesterday in Okene, expressed sadness and surprise that the government of Nigeria decided to concession the companies without following the due process, adding that the companies that would have been employing youths is about to be committed into the hands of friends of the government that might eventually kill them.

Jatto explained that the call for concession by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is a suspicious move, adding that the plan came in barely two months to the expiration of the tenure of the current government.

He said: “Nigerians woke up to the shocking news on April 21, 2023, that the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development put up an international and local advertisement on the concessioning of Ajaokuta Steel Company and Itakpe Iron Ore Company. The advert gave only 20 days threshold for local and international interested companies to respond with detailed offers and not just expressions of interest.

“We note with dismay that the federal government had commenced the concession process for the two companies with an advertisement in some national dailies. We hereby fault the federal government concession plan of Ajaokuta Steel Company and Itakpe Iron Ore Company without recourse to the National Assembly and the host communities, which will not reflect genuine and transparent participation of all interest groups for equity, fairness and justice to Nigerians.”

He added that giving just 20 days threshold for response to the adverts is unrealistic and grossly inadequate for any serious pre-bidding preparations, explaining that it a breach of infrastructure concession regulatory commission (ICRC) that specifies six weeks for tender advert and responses.

Jatto said: “The move by the federal government as represented by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development calls for national concern, and we are worried because of its potential adverse effect on the economy of the country and the wellbeing of the host communities, as it will subject the people to an untold hardship.

“We are particularly worried because the concessioning process of national assets such as National Iron Ore Company Limited, Itakpe, and Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited has not been subjected to thorough legislative processes and contributions from major stakeholders such as the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Manufacturers of Association of Nigeria (MAN), and even the host communities, among others.

“We are also worried and suspicious of underhand dealings that the present federal government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, is rushing the concessioning process when it is about to hand over leadership to a newly democratically elected government in a few weeks’ time.

“We hereby call on the leadership of the National Assembly, concerned Civil Society Organisations, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE),

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to, as a matter of urgency, intervene to ensure immediate reversal of the process in the interest of the present and future generations.”

The group leader commended the High Court of Justice of Kogi State, which has restrained the federal government from its planned concession of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) at Itakpe.

Spread the love
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like