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Senate Asks FG to Revive Ajaokuta Steel for Industrial Development

…Backs Buhari’s Anti- Corruption War

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The Senate has asked the Federal Government (FG) to revive the age long moribund Ajaokuta Steel Development Company for the needed industrialization of the country.

This is just as it backed President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti- corruption war and directed all Federal lawmakers to attend Tuesday’s joint session with national flags in their hands during 2016 budget presentation by the President.

Senate’s resolutions to these effects were sequel to two separate motions moved by the Senate’s Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP Taraba South) and Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West).

Bwacha in his motion titled: “The need for Legislative Support to Government’s anti- corruption drive” called for Senate’s total support for the war in view of enormous damages corruption has done to the development of the Nation.

According to him, ‘corruption has brought untold hardship to millions of Nigerians who are living below poverty level some of whom have been rushed to their early graves aside putting us as a people and as a Nation , permanently at the backward position in terms of development in the comity of Nations”.

He added that given the economic recession confronting the country due to the fall of oil price in the international market, there is a craving need to give legislative support to the efforts of Mr. President in his drive towards wiping corruption to a zero level in order to boost the economic profile of Nigeria.

A submission that made the Senate to among others, direct its committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to review all issues relating to economic /financial crimes and corruption , towards achieving speedy dispensation of justice as it relates to corruption cases.

The Senate urged its committee on Information and National Orientation and Education, to embark on a deliberate civic education programme for the citizenry, the youths in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

In his remarks on the motion, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said the chamber was fully in support of the war against corruption by Mr President.

He described corruption as one of the major challenges facing the nation and stressed the need for government to make anti- corruption agencies truly independent and well equipped to carry out their functions effectively.

He then charged his colleagues on effective oversight functions which he said “is key to the fight against corruption.

Melaye on the Ajaokuta revival motion lamented that in spite of huge amount of monies expended so far by successive governments over the years, the Ajaokuta Steel Complex is still bedeviled by multifarious challenges.

According to him, while the project is still being used as campaign rhetoric, it remains a mere vision with the rot continuing on a project that could have saved the country the over N500billion spent annually on steel importation aside enormous burden of unemployment its failure has put on our youths.

“The sector if properly developed, can easily rival the oil sector as the country in the past nine years had spent N2.1trillion on steel importation”, he added.

The Senate accordingly urged FG to recognize the need and urgency in getting the Ajaokuta Steel working, as it would create employments for local crafts men, disabled at home and in Diaspora, professionals of all fields and others.

The Upper Chamber urged the Federal government to undertake the immediate rehabilitation of rail line and dredging of the water ways linking the Ajaokuta Steel.

It also directed its Committee on Power and Steel Development to undertake a holistic assessment of why the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and Steel plants in Nigeria are not working and advance recommendations for their effective takeoff.

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