Immediately Terminate Arbitration with ISPAT/GSHL and Appoint TPE to Complete Ajaokuta SCL
Immediately Terminate Arbitration with ISPAT/GSHL and Appoint TPE to Complete Ajaokuta SCL
In 1979, President Shehu Shagari embarked upon a great Nigeria's dream with TyazhPromExport (TPE) Russia to build Africa's largest Steel Complex to harness some of the world's largest deposit and finest Ores in Itakpe hills. Ajaokuta, now situated in present Kogi state, but then a sleepy village laying on the left bank of River Niger, graciously gave 24,000 hectares of sprawling green-field land-mass to locate the mill called Ajaokuta Steel Complex Limited. Nigeria painstakingly worked in perfect symphony contributing intellectual and financial resources from the rich Niger Delta oils and beyond to birth our dream. This steel complex when completed was to usher Nigeria into unprecedented economic wealth by easily diversifying her sources of income, increasing revenue, improving GDP, creating millions of jobs and making Nigeria a fortress to mother Africa.
Alas, this dream was cut short by numerous international and sadly domestic conspiracies from France, United Kingdom, America, the IMF, World Bank etc urging Nigeria to stop Russia from completing Ajaokuta Steel project. The Russians stood for Nigeria against all forcing stating that Nigeria, as a sovereign nation had the right to harness its God given natural resources for the benefit of its people even if it would make our nation extremely powerful and fully independent from the West. However, Nigeria succumbed to the conspiracies and subsequently made operating situations unbearable for TPE. In 1994 TPE, having completed the project at 98% stopped work and left Nigeria.
As administrations changed from military to civilian, as our economy dwindled, as it became more glaring that may be… just maybe Nigeria should develop her steel industry as against being a dumping ground for low quality steel; Nigerian leaders commenced actions into completing the abandoned Ajaokuta Complex. Amidst good intentions, selfish and unjust motives came to play in series of unfortunate events from;
Abacha’s Debt Buy Back which gulped $2bn from Nigeria’s treasury. These monies account for the Abacha’s loot being retuned over the years from various foreign accounts.
To Obasanjo’s sole sourcing concession to the technically unqualified SolGas, an American petroleum company in 2003.
To Obasanjo’s 2004 sole sourcing concession to ISPAT (also known as Global Steel Holdings Limited and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited) an Indian/ Nigerian consortium headed by Mr. Pramod Mittal who under the guise of his genuine brother Mr. Lakshmi Mittal, fraudulently ripped Ajaokuta Steel from the glorious state it was left by TPE Russia.
To Jonathan’s part rescue of Ajaokuta mill from the Indians claws in 2013. A full rescue, according to the Indians would require Nigeria giving up Itakpe in concession to them for 20 years.
On your table today, dear president Buhari, is a concession agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria/ Itakpe Iron Ore Company and Global Steel Holdings Limited. This crafty document contains ridiculous conditions precedent to relinquishing Ajaokuta in full to Nigeria. It holds that Itakpe will not only be given for free, but FGN will spend over Euros 500 million in rehabilitating the complex for a yearly concession fee of 4% turnover payable from the second year of operations. To think that Mr. Mittal, a man of unpleasant reputation even in his own country India; collaborated with fellow Nigerians, some of who presently serve as Special Advisers in your cabinet, would for the love of money, carelessly or should we say deliberately entrap our God given resources captive is sickening.
Through all these happenings, the good people of Nigeria were kept in the dark…but not any more. It is true that times are dire and pains of betrayal run deep in our veins, yet we shall not focus all our energies fighting demons of the past. For we are resilient and optimistic citizens; we chose to take the best advantage of this great era of changed ushered to us by our dear president, and for that, we chose to forgive everyone for every selfish act which has cumulatively ruined Nigeria ONLY if the following conditions are PROMPTLY met:
1. That President Buhari exercises an Executive Fiat in immediately terminating every legal agreement and arbitration entered into between the Federal Republic of Nigeria / Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited/ Itakpe Iron Ore Company and ISPAT/ Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited/ Global Steel Holdings Limited. You may recall late President Yaradua called for the arrest of Mr. Mittal and his cohorts immediately he got wind of the fraudulent occurrences surrounding the concessions. Nigeria is too big to be held hostage by Mr. Mittal and his Nigerian sellouts.
2. That in 1 month or less, a public congressional hearing should be held at the National Assembly calling on all stakeholders including the Minister of Solid Minerals, TPE and GSHL as participants. Nigerians deserve to know the truth surrounding the occurrences and opportunities, past and future as Nigeria beholds her steel break.
Experts should be made to answer questions and concerns relating to
- The amount of funds needed to get the steel mill completed and rolling
- The amount needed to complete all associated projects like the rail line necessary to transport steel bars, coking coal etc
- The true value of the entire plant, condition and technology choice.
- The sharing ratio of proceeds to the host community (Royalties), LGA, State and Federal Government.
- The Master Plan which would outline foreign direct investment into the project.
3. Consider moving Department of Steel out of Ministry of Solid Minerals. Just like Ministry of Petroleum, make it a stand alone Ministry and directly under the presidency for your close supervision. This is exactly what President Shagari did that accorded him tremendous success of having Ajaokuta Steel Complex 84% completed within his 4 years.
4. Ajaokuta , Itakpe and other steel mills should not be privatized but rather held as a national project like the Oil and Gas sector. On completion, the government can sell % ownership to a reputable foreign investor for expert operations while Nigeria retains a controlling share. After 5 years (or thereabout) of successful operations, the government would sell its % stake openly to all Nigerian investors on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
5. That item 9 of the Communiqué on the Iron and Steel Summit held in Ikeja, Lagos on July 31st and August 1st 2008 which holds that the comprehensive technical audit and valuation of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and NIOMCO by Messrs TPE of Russia and KOCH respectively, in collaboration with indigenous Engineers and Consultants should be urgently executed by Government.
6. That the government heeds to the call of all well meaning Nigerians and industry stakeholders such as the Iron and Steel Senior Staff of Nigeria, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Metallurgical Society, African Iron and Steel Association, Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria, and appoint TPE as EPC contractor for the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Complex. Nigeria has lost so much in time over wrong privatizations, Grace has given us one more chance, lets join hands and make right decisions.
TPE has built over 40 steel plants around the world but Ajaokuta steel is the ONLY one they have not completed. Nigeria why??? Do you know that all steel plants are still serving their countries and some like Bhilai Steel has won eleven awards as the best steel complex in India amongst others.
7. That in 4 months or less, TPE should be seen to have commenced work in Ajaokuta Steel Complex. This is the simplest and most honest of approaches. It is evident that the previous termination was caused by a default in Nigeria’s part; TPE’s technical competence was/is not in question. TPE has the project’s blue print and are passionate about completing same for Nigeria. Ajaokuta Steel Complex is NOT an experiment. We are done with the era of trials and error. For morality and sustainability sake, Nigerians demands that the right steps be taken NOW!!!
Nigerians, Africans and well-meaning hearts from all over the world, in your hand, you have the power to break the chains of “economic cabalism”, a shrewd tool by a few Nigerians holding our beloved country captive from her deserved progress. Nigeria is too rich to be this poor. Over 100 million youths are unemployed. We cannot rely on international aids forever; we are built strong and with pride on our chest. We are a nation that fed Africa once. We are a nation who helped other African countries stand on their feet. We are the most resilient people on earth because we never give up, and we shall never give into political toils over our future anymore.
And the time is now…by God’s grace, to take our destiny into our own hands. Let us join efforts and help our dear president diversify the economy from its huge dependency on crumbling oil to steel amongst others.
Please sign and share this petition in support of reviving Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited. Let this be the call for Nigeria’s First Industrial Revolution!!!
“Youth should be radical. Youth should demand change in the world. Youth should not accept the old order if the world is to move on” William A. White