The Federal Government of Nigeria has reaffirmed the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, stating that a contrary statement made by a director of Global Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL), Dr S.O. Nwanbuokei is misleading.
Against the position of the Federal Government, Dr S.O. Nwanbuokei was quoted as saying that the protracted litigation surrounding the ownership of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex had not been resolved.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Abbas said Nwanbuokei claims contradict the position of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who reaffirmed the Federal Government’s ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, during the just concluded Nigerian Mining Week, as he has done in similar fora.
The Permanent Secretary reaffirmed Nigeria’s ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex saying: “the Ministry’s position, as stated by the Minister is that Ajaokuta Steel Complex belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and there is no contention about this fact.”
“The Federal Government does not need any mediation to determine its ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex as the integrated steel complex has always been the property of FGN.”
Stating the basis for Nigeria’s incontestable ownership of ASCO even though it was concessioned, the Permanent Secretary said: “It must be stated clearly that concessioning of an asset does not make one lose the ownership of the asset. In the case of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, the Federal Government remained the actual owner of the asset, while the concesioning arrangement was in place. This situation has not changed after the entire concessioning arrangement crumbled.”
He explained further that the position of government is that having ceded the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) Itakpe to GSHL, for the remaining concession period, as part of the agreement reached during the mediation, government would at the appropriate time take a decision on how best to put Ajaokuta Steel Complex to profitable use. This includes engaging a new core investor with proven financial and technical capacity to turn around, complete and run the steel complex profitably.