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Honour your words on Ajaokuta Steel, Abatemi-Usman tells Jonathan

By Michael Jegede
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Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, has once again called on President Goodluck Jonathan to show more commitment towards the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO) and National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, both in Kogi State.

The Senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial District made the call in a statement signed by Michael Jegede, his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.

He was reacting to the protest staged at the National Assembly on Monday by some youths from the central axis of Kogi State led by Alhaji Mohammed Bashir Sani-Omolori, requesting the Federal Government to release fund for the full operation of ASCO and NIOMCO.

According to Abatemi-Usman, the President must endeavour to fulfill the promise he made to Nigerians to revive Ajaokuta Steel during his presidential campaign in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

“I call on Mr. President, Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to honour his words. The President of this country, a gentleman, an honourable person came to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital in February 2011 and said to the world that no nation seeking to industrialize her base can go anywhere without steel, and for that reason on his watch, under his watch, he is going to see to the completion and activation of Ajaokuta Steel. I call on Mr. President to please call on his team to match his words with action. We will continue to remind the President of his words on that day in Lokoja,” Abatemi-Usman declared.

The lawmaker wondered why the President should allow the coordinating minister of the economy, who is believed to be working with external bodies, to truncate government effort towards the actualization of the project, which is capable of creating jobs for over two million Nigerians and generating revenue that can rival proceeds from the oil sector.

“Ever since we took the oath of office, all I have done is to try to bring this issue to the attention of the powers that be. It is preposterous for any minister; I am talking about the coordinating Minister of the economy to seek or attempt to tell Nigerians that Ajaokuta Steel project should be scrapped. In fact, in an attempt to make the President see otherwise, she attempted to bring together a committee of nobodies, people who know nothing about metallurgy, who know nothing about steel industry to offer any meaningful or reasonable advice, because as far as we can see, a lot of people believe this, that she is acting the script of other interest in many ways. But we will not give up,” the Senator vowed.