By Gabriel Ewepu
THE Federal Government disclosed that the litigation over ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Company has been resolved.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Abbas, stated in a statement obtained by Vanguard that the litigation was resolved.
The statement stated that: “The attention of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been drawn to recent media reports, where Dr. S.O. Nwanbuokei, a director of Global Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL), was quoted as saying that the protracted litigation surrounding the ownership of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex had not been resolved.
“His claims contradict the position of the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who reaffirmed the Federal Government’s ownership of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, during the just concluded Nigerian Mining Week, as he has done in similar fora.
“The Ministry’s position, as stated by the honourable 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.”
The statement further explained that concessioning of an asset does not mean the ownership of it has been lost, hence the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Company.
“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.
“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. This is still the position of government.’’