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Nigerian Students Association Backs Probe Of Ajaokuta Steel, Says No Single Tribe Can Claim Sole Ownership

The union’s president lamented that those who crippled the company are going unpunished.

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has supported the move by the Senate to probe the Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASC), over allegations bordering on corruption.

A statement issued by NANS’ President, Lucky Emonefe, lamented that the same set of individuals who brought the Ajaokuta Steel Company to its comatose state were still walking the street un-investigated and unpunished.

The statement implored the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other related agencies to stand their ground against every form of intimidation or shielding, as they probe the issues.

NANS stated that those that mismanaged the company should be punished to serve as a deterrence to others who may be  aspiring to steal from the company as soon as it starts operation again.

It added that ‘’bringing them to book will help the company grow in the sense that the money recovered from these offenders would be pumped back into the company and it will give it a higher lift in every sense’’.

“These people who have been indicted to the tune of several millions of US dollars further siphoned $496 million in September 2022 through the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. They have neither been probed nor punished. This is not a good precedence at all and if unchecked would create an avenue for dabbling into President Bola Tinubu’s efforts of resuscitating the steel plant.

“These individuals, including past corrupt government executives denied the public, most especially the youth, the benefit of experiencing the exodus of job opportunities, technological exposure and economic emancipation that would have been massively accrued to us all these while if they had done what was expected of them.

“They selfishly and callously mismanaged Ajaokuta Steel Company and grounded it with the notion that nothing will happen in the end. Facts like these go un-investigated and unpunished, what is now the tendency that after rebuilding, some other people would not come and do the same thing to loot and ground it again the umpteenth time? This should not be so.

“While the revamping of this company is going on, the probing of these culprits should aggressively continue. Both can go concurrently and one will not affect another. As a matter of fact, the probing is an essential part of the revamping because investigators and other stakeholders may discover in the course of probing that some bad eggs are still on the management and staff of this Steel Company.

“With these probes, any unveilings will take place, giving way to a holistic revitalisation and resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company,” it said.

The statement added that in as much as Ajaokuta Steel Company belongs to the federal government, no particular group should claim ownership and control of it because it’s built on their land.

It stated that just the way no single tribe is laying claims to the oil in the Niger Delta and the hydroelectric dams in Kanji and its environs, there was no justification why the Ebira people would turn the Ajaokuta Steel Company to their personal property and would never want others to benefit from the largesse that should come with it.

“This company should be a haven of massive employment opportunities for us Nigerian Students upon graduation and it should also be a technology site where our potential engineering students all over the country could come and experience technological innovations at its peak as they aspire for greatness in the field of engineering.

“So, no single tribe, out of the over 200 tribes in Nigeria has the right to lay claim of sole ownership to this government project built from the nation’s taxpayers money. This must be checkmated,” NANS added.

Wale Igbintade

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