The Nigerian Government’s plan to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company may soon be realised as the final $50million payment to complete the $496million settlement is to be paid next month.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in a statement responding to recent claims made by Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP.
Mohammed explained that the Obasanjo administration, in which Atiku served as a Vice, had agreed to a concession agreement with Global Steel Industry in 2004. But the deal failed to pull through, which is why the Buhari administration agreed to the $496million settlement.
Lai Mohammed added that Atiku’s promise to get Ajaokuta working was a failed promise.
He said, “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 program? Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. That 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?”
He added that Global Steel Industry took Nigeria to court, asking for $7 billion dollars and the case lingered for 12 years, which was later settled by the present administration which stepped finally settled for $496million.
He added FG initially 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 dollars 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.”
He added that FG is already in talks with companies, over a concession deal once the payment is made, who he says are ready to invest in the steel complex.