The Social Integrity Network (SINET), a civil society group, has requested Senate President Ahmad Lawan to establish a committee to promptly review the ongoing plan to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) in Itakpe.
In a communique released after an emergency meeting held in Jos, Plateau State, SINET called on the senate president to ensure that the process is stopped, reversed, and handed over to the incoming administration for proper scrutiny and consideration of national interest. The communique was signed by SINET’s National Coordinator, Ibrahim Issah.
The group’s action was prompted by newspaper adverts soliciting bids for the concession of the two assets. SINET believes that the concession of national treasures such as the National Iron Ore Company Limited in Itakpe and the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited should be subjected to rigorous legislative processes and input from major stakeholders, including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), within a reasonable timeframe.
SINET stated, “There is a need for the leadership of the National Assembly, civil society organizations, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Bureau of Public Enterprises, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to quickly intervene and order the immediate reversal of the process in the interest of over 200 million Nigerians. Failure to do this is tantamount to Nigeria sitting on a powder keg waiting to explode.”
According to the group, if the process is not halted, it could cause economic regression and unforeseen consequences for the incoming administration, despite numerous campaign promises, high determination to deliver, and high expectations from the electorate.
The group did, however, commend the federal government for resolving the long-standing contractual dispute with a foreign investor group in the steel industry by reducing claims from $5.258 billion to $496 million.