Bullying judiciary, PDP campaign, Students, Atiku

The Federal Government says the solution to problems facing Ajaokuta Steel Company does not lie in the hands of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

The FG said it was deceitful and out of desperation for power for Atiku, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to have promised to fix the company if elected as president in the next month’s general election.

The PDP presidential standard-bearer had made the vow while speaking recently at the party’s presidential campaign rally in Kogi State.

Reacting at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said Atiku was not sincere, adding that Nigerians should not allow themselves “to be conned twice”.

“A little bit of background will show that the former Vice President was deceiving Nigerians when he made that promise. Ajaokuta was concessioned to Global Steel Industry in 2004 by the administration of then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

“Who was in charge of that administration’s privatisation programme? Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

READ ALSO: Atiku in Kogi: Ajaokuta Steel Coy’ll be a priority

“The concession that turned out to be a mess was terminated by another PDP administration.

“If the former Vice President had any solution to the Ajaokuta challenge and he didn’t execute it in 2004, why should Nigerians trust him to do so in 2023? Almost 20 years later,” Mohammed said.

The minister stated that following the failed concession, the concessionaire, Global Steel Industry, took Nigeria to court and asked for $7 billion, saying the case lingered for 12 years.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration later that stepped in, noting that the company settled for $496 million.

Mohammed said out of $496 million, the country made a bulk payment of $250 million and agreed to pay the balance in five installments.

“To date, we have paid a total of $446 million out of the $496 million.

“We will make the last payment of $50 million next month and Ajaokuta will revert fully to us – ending the shameful and failed concession by the administration in which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar served as the Vice President,” the minister added.

Mohammed stated that the government has started talking to investors who are ready to bring their money into Ajaokuta to make sure it works.

He reiterated the assurance by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, that before Buhari’s administration leaves office, Ajaokuta will be concessioned in equitable terms.

The Star



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