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Abacha $322m Loot: Reps step down bill

House of Representatives

By Emman Ovuakporie

ABUJA—THE House of Representatives, yesterday, stepped down a Bill seeking to convert the Federal Government’s share of the $322million recovered loot of former military Head of State, late Gen. Sani Abacha to complete Ajaokuta Steel Company and a rail line linking Ajaokuta from Lagos, Enugu  and  Port Harcourt.

The House, apparently sensing the sensitive nature of the Bill considering the position of the Federal Government to share the money in 19 states adjudged to be poor without a database, stepped it down.

The Bill promoted by Rep Ossai Nicholas Ossai, PDP, Delta and five others suffered a setback on the floor of the House as Rep Edward Pwajock raised a point of order on the Bill.

The Bill, which scaled through first reading on Tuesday, seeks to  ensure judicious use of the  $322.5  million which President Muhammudu  Buhari proposed to distribute  to 302,000 poor households in 19 states.

Worried by the intendment of the bill, Mr. Pwajok, who raised a Point of Order, argued that the move by the House to enact a law to appropriate funds belonging to the three arms of government was unconstitutional, null and void.

Some of the lawmakers, who spoke against the bill are  Sergious  Ogun (PDP-Edo) and Kayode Oladele (APC-Ogun).

Speaking earlier, Ossai noted that “Ajaokuta Steel is the second largest in Africa and the 12th largest iron ore in the world.”

He said: “The steel company has been described the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrializations. If completed, it will generate about 75,000 direct jobs and one million indirect jobs. At least 10,000 jobs are expected to be employed in the complex.

“The construction of railway lines will significantly play a vital role in the overall economic activities of these cities and towns. Lagos being the commercial nerve  centre  of Nigeria, Port Harcourt being the hub of oil activities in Nigeria, Enugu being the headquarters of eastern Nigeria, Ajaokuta having the steel mill and linking these cities with railway lines will revolutionize economic activities in Nigeria.”

 


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