The House of Representatives on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to suspend the ongoing process for the concession of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the National Iron Ore Mining Company for proper stakeholder consultations.
The House also invited the Minister of Mines and Steel Development to appear before it in plenary session to explain details of the concession process.
These resolutions were sequel to adoption of a motion of urgent public importance, moved by Abdullahi Halims from Kogi state at plenary.
Presenting the motion, Halims said there was an advertorial by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development published on page 20 of the Punch Newspapers of Friday, April 21, 2023 and in other national dailies titled requesting qualification for the concession of the companies.
He said the steel industry remains the backbone of development meant to provide the basic raw materials for public infrastructure development in key sectors of the economy therefore very important in any meaningful efforts towards achieving economic prosperity and development of the nation as no economy can survive without its steel industry functioning optimally.
The lawmaker expressed worry that the eleventh hour request for the concession of these strategic national assets like the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the National Iron Ore Mining Company at the twilight of the current administration, having left with less than 30 days to the end of an 8-year tenure seems to be self-serving, unpatriotic and not of national interest.
“Also worried about the timing of the concession arrangement, why now? why the hurry to concession such strategic national assets within a narrow window of less than six weeks? Why the rush to consummate a concession deal during this transitional period and not leave it for the incoming administration which stands inaugurated on the 29th of May 2023.
“Concerned that the public and major stakeholders in the steel sector and other relevant industrial sectors of the economy may not have been adequately informed and carried along or due process not followed considering the speed at which the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is carrying out the concession exercise.
“Desirous that robust stakeholder consultation and adoption of proper procurement, due diligence and due process protocols are well adhered to and observed in the said concession deals and in the best national interest” Halims said.
Adopting the motion, mandated the Committee on Steel to investigate allegations of infractions to due process and noncompliance with due diligence procedures.