Statement On The Current Situation of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited [ASCL] and Review of Efforts by the Buhari Administration At the December 15, 2022 meeting of the Steering Committee of the CSOs Coalition observed that:
1. On the revival of Ajaokuta, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will come to an end by May 2023 and a new government will be ushered in. This is a constitutional arrangement and it is clear that the promise to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Plant to full operation before the end of his administration is no longer achievable. This much has been made public by the government through Hon. Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in his recent media briefings and public statements, particularly the December 12th visit to Osun on the occasion of his official visit to the state.
2. In the last seven (7) years of the Buhari administration, Nigerians and indeed the international community are aware of the challenges associated with the revival of ASCL and the efforts put in place to address them.
3. In particular, we commend President Muhammad Buhari for his inexorable commitment to the revival of the steel plant, ably demonstrated through his visit to Sochi, Russia in October 2019 during the Russia-Africa Economic Summit, the inauguration of the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT), the settlement of the legal arbitration and the payment of $496m to Global Steel. It is equally on record the efforts of the government to get the Russians and other international companies to conduct the technical audits of the Plant, as well as the ongoing process to concession ASCL to investors.
4. The Coalition is however concerned about the seeming lack of transparency in the ongoing bidding process for the selection of investors for ASCL, the non-disclosure of the methods adopted and non-compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007, especially Section 19[b], which mandates Ministries, Departments and Agencies [MDAs} of government to invite observers in all public bid process, call for concerns
5. We are particularly worried that the engagement of consultants to perform this privatization process did not follow due process of law and therefore, the selection of the investors as stated by the Minister is opaque and likely to give room for corruption.
5. We therefore, call on the relevant government agencies particularly, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission [ICRC], to without delay, interrogate the ongoing privatization process by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, in a bid to ensure a transparent, accountable and productive process for the benefit of the Nigerian people.
6. We equally seize this opportunity to advise the incoming administration to ensure that the current efforts of President Muhammed Buhari on the revival of Ajaokuta Steel company Ltd is sustained for the eventual completion of the steel Plant.
7. We also, advocate for institutionalized transparency, accountability and integrity mechanisms in the entire process to avoid pitfalls of the past.
Signed by the Steering Committee:
1. Mohammad Bougei Attah, NGO Network, Abuja
2. Otunba Dele Ajayi-Smith, African Citizens Development Foundation, Lagos
3. Prince Chris Azor, Int’l Peace and Civic Responsibility Center, Awka.
4. Oluseyi Oyebisi, Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organizations, Lagos
5. Raymond Enoch, Center for Environmental Education and Development, Jalingo
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