" ITREALMS: Ajaokuta Steel Company mismanagement: NANS tasks Tinubu on stealing, corruption, demands probe - ITREALMS

Monday, March 11, 2024

Ajaokuta Steel Company mismanagement: NANS tasks Tinubu on stealing, corruption, demands probe - ITREALMS

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The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, on Monday expressed concerns about misconduct in Ajaokuta Steel Company and urged President Bola Tinubu to order a thorough investigation into reported mismanagement.
Ajaokuta Steel Company mismanagement: NANS tasks Tinubu on stealing, corruption, demands probe - ITREALMS
“If there are individuals or group of individuals protecting the corrupt managers of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and hereby shielding them from any form of probe and judgement, it simply means that they are beneficiaries of the ill-gotten proceeds of the mismanagement or they have other personal interests that are not people-friendly and that are tantamount to water down or nullify President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's fight against corruption. These set of people should also be probed. They may even be part of those used by these selfish leaders to loot the treasury of the steel company dry.”

The student body implored the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices & Other related Offences Commission (ICPC) to stand their ground against every form of intimidation or shielding, as they probe and investigate mismanagement in Ajaokuta Steel Company.

“While the revamping of this company is going on, the probing of these culprits should aggressively continue. Both can go concurrently, and one will not affect another. As a matter of fact, the probing is an essential part of the revamping because investigators and other Stakeholders may discover in the course of probing that some bad eggs are still on the management and staff of this Steel Company. With these probes, many unveilings will take place, giving way to a holistic revitalization and resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company.”

The umbrella body with over 50million members across the nation in a press release said those involved in the mismanagement of this company must be brought to book immediately:

“This is simply because if these offenders are brought to book, it will serve as a deterrent to others who are aspiring to steal from the company as soon as it starts operation again. Bringing them to book will help the company grow in the sense that the money recovered from these offenders would be pumped back into the company and it will give it a higher lift in every sense.”

In the release signed by NANS Universal President, Comrade Lucky Emonefe, GCNS, the association vowed not to back down on fights of this peculiarity, especially one that is against the tenets of financial accountability and transparency.

“Power intoxicates, and absolute power intoxicates absolutely. Having a Sole Administrator for the past 12 years to oversee a public and national company like Ajaokuta Steel is not good enough. This gives room to corruption in the sense that there will be no one else to check the excesses of the Sole Administrator and this may give him/her an ample chance to misuse the trust and powers given to him/her. Hence, power in this institution should be broken down to the Managing Director, Executive Director Technical Services, Executive Director Finance and other directorates for more effectiveness, accountability and productivity that will culminate in efficacious checking and balancing.”

The association stressed the importance of addressing concerns raised by Nigerians and ensuring that no single tribe, out of the over 200 tribes in Nigeria has the right to lay claim of sole ownership to this government project built from the nation's taxpayers' money.

“In as much as this company is Federal Government owned, one particular group should never claim ownership and control of it because it's built on their land. Just the way no single tribe is laying claims to the oil in the Niger Delta and the Hydroelectric dams in Kanji and its environs, This company should be a haven of massive employment opportunities for us Nigerian Students upon graduation and it should also be a technology site where our potential engineering students all over the country could come and experience technological innovations at its peak as they aspire for greatness in the field of engineering. So, no single tribe, out of the over 200 tribes in Nigeria has the right to lay claim of sole ownership to this government project built from the nation's taxpayers' money. This must be checkmated.”

The association underlined Bola Tinubu’s commitment to the development of the country.

“We want to sincerely appreciate H.E. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the humongous effort he has put into the development of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, since he assumed office. From history, apart from the Shehu Shagari era, this will be the first time that this company would be having this kind of unusual support from the Federal Government. This is highly commendable. We also want to appreciate the office of the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio for his huge and tireless efforts in making sure that this company comes back on its feet and deliver the purpose with which it was founded. All his efforts are seen, and they won't go unappreciated.”

It commended members of the National Assembly, especially Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, who raised one issue or the other in support of the growth and development of the company.

“We believe that their efforts shall not go unrewarded and their wishes towards the progress of Ajaokuta Steel Company will come to materialization in no distant time.”

The association highlighted the dedication of the government and the stakeholders.

“Ajaokuta Steel Company and National Iron Ore Mining Company have remained in operational, but resuscitation plans of the projects are near with the attraction of investors in topmost gear. The government and the stakeholders alike are working assiduously to see that the company comes back to life. This is a good omen for the Renewed Hope Agenda to continue to flourish amidst the global economic crisis that has engulfed the world right about now.”

It pointed out that individuals who brought the Ajaokuta Steel Company to this comatose are still walking the street un-investigated and unpunished.

“These people who have been indicted to the tune of several millions of US dollars further siphoned $496m in September 2022 through Buhari's administration. They have neither been probed nor punished. This is not a good precedent at all and if unchecked would create an avenue for dabbling into President Tinubu's efforts of resuscitating the steel plant.”

“These individuals including past corrupt government executives denied the public, most especially the youth, the benefit of experiencing the exodus of job opportunities, technological exposure and economic emancipation that would have been massively accrued to us all these while if they had done what was expected of them. These people selfishly and callously mismanaged Ajaokuta Steel Company and grounded it with the notion that nothing will happen in the end. If acts like these go un-investigated and unpunished, what is now the tendency that after rebuilding, some other people would not come and do the same thing to loot and ground it again the umpteenth time? This should not be so.”

*Ebireri Henry Ovie

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