On the 2nd of April 2019, President Buhari rejected the $1b Ajaokuta Steel Company’s completion bill stating amongst others that “the nation can not afford to commit such an amount in the midst of competing priorities “ .
As disappointed as many were... losing hope was a far cry.
Financing was indeed a major concern for such a revolutionary project which intends to operate in service for the benefit of the people and industrialize Nigeria. At the same time, privatization is off the option racks as that would mean the profit going into the pockets of a few individuals at the detriment of the host communities, state and country. We have witnessed the “investments” in the oil sector and learnt from the degraded Niger Delta environments which birthed : Rich “investors” ... poor exploited hosts.
But they say, where there is a will, there is a way.
A Ray of Hope 🌺
From the 18th to 22nd of June 2019, the African Import-Export Bank (AfriEximBank) under the leadership of Nigeria’s own Prof. Oramah, held its 26th Annual General for the first time in Moscow, Russia.
There the Russia Export Center (REC) (which is a developmental institution established by the Russian government to export financial and technical support for foreign countries in need) expressed intentions to be a stakeholder in AfriEximBank committing $50billion towards African projects specifically in areas of mining, railway and major industrial development.
Thousands of delegates cutting across the bank’s shareholders, authorities from countries and business communities participated in this conference which redefined Africa- Russia relationship as it were in the 70s/80s.
Sadly I couldn’t attend because of our senatorial tribunal case.
However, it was a rewarding event as the Nigerian Government representatives engaged adequately and returned home to Nigeria to begin putting in place measures to have Ajaokuta receive its $1b funding from the Russian Export Center’s $50billion stake in AfriExImBank.
AfriExImBank is currently excited about the possibilities of financing Ajaokuta Steel Complex’s resuscitation for the greater good of Nigeria.
President Buhari in Russia 🇷🇺
On 22nd and 23rd of October 2019, President Buhari is expected to attend the first ever Russian - African Economic Summit where leaders of 40 African countries have confirmed attendance.
The Nigerian presidency is currently working very hard to ensure that a direct Government to Government agreement is entered into by Presidents Buhari and Putin in October in Russia with regards to the revival of Ajaokuta especially now that the funding challenge has been sorted.
Deal is; to get the Russians to resuscitate, operate alongside Nigerians for a few years, transfer technology to Nigerians leaving Ajaokuta plant a wholly Nigerian People’s owned company transparently and efficiently administered under a restructured system for maximum benefit of the people and nation.
The Devils in Sheep Clothing 👿
As everything was going on smoothly, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi state and his crony in the person of Alhaji Musa Bello have dug up their shell company Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited and want to acquire Ajaokuta steel while accessing the $1b financing from AfriExImBank.
Who is Alhaji Musa Bello?
This is a “self-acclaimed business man” whose character oozes the impression that “corruptions is the way of life in Nigeria so you must join the corrupt to survive”.
Musa Bello manipulated the Ajaokuta’s Arbitration case in London with the help of some unpatriotic Nigerians and together with Gov Kayode Fayemi ended up deceiving Vice President Osibanjo into handing over Itakpe Iron Ore complex to him in lieu of the $550m which they say Nigeria is supposedly owing Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, a company now belonging to Musa Bello.
Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited is the company which stripped assets off Ajaokuta, Itakpe and Delta steel.
Now, Itakpe Iron Ore was given to Musa Bello 3 years ago on the 1st of August 2016 yet no operational activity is going on there.
What is Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited?
By mid 2017, a shell-company was uncovered to be created by Musa Bello and Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to fraudulently acquire Ajaokuta steel company for their selfish interests. Remember Malabo Oil? This set up was similar.
Upon investigation, DSS recommend the deregistration of the company as it didn’t hold in trust the intent mentioned in the numerous letters sent to CAC by the Kogi State Government (letter’s from Folashade, the Sectertary to the Government House and Asiwaju the Commission for Finance ).
Surprisingly, the company has resurfaced to live up to its intended evil of shortchanging not only Kogi state but Nigeria at a large because Ajaokuta steel is a federal government asset.
Let the Corporate Affairs Commission know that for all that it may, CAC doesn’t have the constitutional powers to regularize an irregularity.
Now Back to the Devils 👿👿:
As we speak, Gov Yahaya Bello is using the authority of his office to misrepresent Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited (AKNL) into partnership with a Russian private company named Metprom before Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and even Russian Export Center that AKNL holds trust for Kogi State and Nigeria.
Last week Kogi State Commissioner of Finance Mr. Asiwaju accompanied Musa Bello to a meeting with the presidency to push for privatization and access to the $1b.
The presidency told them straight away that the Federal Government is not interested in privatizing Ajaokuta are desirous of a Government to Government agreement with the Russians.
This didn’t go too well with Asiwaju, Musa Bello and Yahaya Bello.
Immediately, Gov. Yahaya Bello by the seal of his office facilitated MetProm’s deception of Russian Export Center into having an agreement that every transaction with Nigeria with regards to Ajaokuta steel should be through them (Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited and MetProm).
As at today, the presidency is upset at the mutinous manner in which Gov Yahaya Bello manipulates BPE, the AfriEximBank and the Russian Export Center into deceptively privatizing a Federal Government asset to himself and cronies.
Let every Kogite and well meaning Nigerian stand with the presidency on this great move to resuscitate Ajaokuta steel company.
Ajaokuta steel company like many others have suffered greatly in the guise of privatization. Privatization is simply a excuse for a government’s inefficiency and if we find the federal government trying its best to streamline processes to eradicate corruption in corporate sectors, let’s support them.
AfriExImBank would release funds to revive Ajaokuta but would prefer so upon a direct Federal Government to Government agreement not through a Yahaya Bello’s Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited Shell.
God bless Nigeria .
Natasha H Akpoti
The People’s Senator