Members of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee one day investigative hearing on the reason for the failure of Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State were surprised to hear that the Nigerian federal government has been losing about $4.5 billion which should have come into the Federation Account.
Former Director General of Nigcomsat, Ahmed Rafai, who made this known at the public hearing of the ad hoc committee, headed by House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, emphasized that Nigeria should be earning $4.5 billion annually as foreign exchange if the Ajaokuta steel Company were to be in full production.
Ahmed Rufai said that of the 1.7 billion tons of steel produced worldwide, Nigeria could produce an initial output of 1.5 percent of world output and increase it to 5.2 percent at full capacity eventually.
Lawmakers and other stakeholders called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to revisit the probe of asset stripping at the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL).
According to them, the President should visit Ajaokuta with the view to take informed decisions.
A legal practitioner Natacha Akpoti, spoke of the need to prosecute promoters of the shell companies bidding for the company for economic sabotage, saying that the son of a late former Head of State and a serving Governor were responsible for the lingering crisis in the steel complex.
She also said there is the need to investigate Nigerian saboteurs making Ajaokuta unrealistic.
”Shockingly, it must be noted that Ex AGF Adoke memo mentioned in item 6. (a) that: ‘In light of the fact that a presidential committee had estimated damages payable to Global in the region of $525m, the agreement of Global to wave its right to damages is a substantial achievement.”
In his presentation, Bawa Bwari, Minister of State for Mines and Steel confirmed that the N2 billion was included in the 2017 budget for audit was part of the concessionning process, adding that between $500 million and $1 billion is expected to complete the project.
Samaila Akaaba, ASCL Sole administrator, in an earlier presentation said about $635 million required to complete the two percent left undone based on the internal audit conducted by the ASCL management in synergy with two Ukrainian firms and Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE)
According to him, based on the audit conducted in 2010, about $800 million is required to complete the internal and external infrastructure of Ajaokuta Steel company.
Gbajabiamila in his opening remarks spoke of the resolve of the House towards the industrialisation of Nigeria through a steel based socio-economic and infrastructure development.
“We all known that any country that has not migrated to the level of steel production development has not started as a true independent nation and that such national interest us the only religion that is pursued.”
“Hence, a nation without a steel development production capability will only be playing at the periphery of world industrialized countries.”