* Wants NDDC Board Dissolved
Senate yesterday urged the Federal Government to recognise the need and urgency of reviving the Ajaokuta Steel Company, adding that the move would create employment for local craftmen, physically challenged at home and abroad and professionals in all fields. The Senate also advised the Federal Government to immediately commence the rehabilitation of rail line and dredging of the water ways linking the Company.
Subsequently, the Upper Legislative Chamber directed its Committee on Power and Steel Development to undertake a holistic assessment of why the Company and other steel plants in Nigeria are not operational, and consequently advance recommendations for their effective take-off. These were sequel to a motion, sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye, and entitled: ailing Ajaokuta Steel Company – a threat to Nigerian industrial growth.
Melaye, who pointed out that the country has in the past nine years spent a whopping N2.1 trillion to import steel into the country, lamented that the steel sector spends over N500 billion annually on steel importation. “If the steel sector is revived, it will have the capacity to rival the oil sector,” Melaye said.
Melaye further lamented that the steel sector has continued to be bedevilled by multifarious challenges, despite the huge sums of money expended on the sector in less than a decade. Meanwhile, Senate has called on the Federal Government to reconstitute the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) that will be committed to the pursuit of government objectives in the Niger Delta Region.
It also directed its Committee on Niger Delta to carry out a holistic investigation into the activities of the NDDC so far with a view to determining the level of its impact. It particularly tasked the Committee to carry out a full audit of all development projects by the NDDC and ascertain, if what has been done is commensurate with the amount of money pumped into the Commission. The above decisions followed a motion sponsored by Senator Mathew Uroghide, and entitled: the NDDC and Niger Delta Development.
-Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja