By Ochuko Akuopha
OLEH—A group, Concerned Delta Indigenes Forum, CDIF, has appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to jettison the proposed concessioning of the Nigeria Iron Ore Mines Company, NIOMCO, Itakpe, Kogi State, to Global Steel Holdings Limited, GSHL, former operators of the Delta Steel Company, Ovwian-Aladja, Delta State.
It described NIOMCO as the “nerve centre and the life wire of the DSC plant as well as the steel industry in Nigeria. Any decision of the Federal Government to concession NIOMCO to GSHL without the interest of the old DSC and its host communities is inimical, and insidious, to the plight of the people of the Niger Delta in particular in this administration.”
Decrying the perceived neglect of DSC, the group, in a statement by its Coordinator, Ese Ogboru, alleged that GSHL devastated and “cannibalized” DSC plant beyond redemption, recalling that “In 2005, concession was given to GSHL and was consequently terminated in 2008 due to the company’s refusal to pay the Federal Government.
“Also, between 2005 and 2008, GSHL could hardly produce approximately two to three million tons from Itakpe Mines. The DSC plant, under whatever names or operator, has enormous capacity to empower more than 10, 000 persons economically and in line with the firm resolve of the current administration to provide jobs for the jobless, every effort should therefore, be harnessed towards the resuscitation of the plant.
“The Federal Government, as the grand overall authority should do everything possible to support the restart process of the plant, now underway, because expectations are very high.”
The group urged the Federal Government to make adequate provisions in terms of a hitch-free regular supply of raw materials for the resuscitation of the DSC plant.