The recent concessioning of Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company NIOMCO, to Global Steel Limited, is receiving reactions from all parts of the country. NIOMCO is located in Kogi state in North Central Nigeria.
This agreement will settle the long legal battle between the Nigerian government and the company . Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration had given both NIOMCO and the Ajaokuta steel company license to operate for ten years.
While shedding more light on the recent development, the Special Assistant on Media to the Nigerian Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Yinka Oyebode, explained that the concession agreement is for the best interest of the country.
“The issue of concession has been on for years, you will recall that the former president Olusegun Obasanjo had privatized both NIOMCO and the Ajaokuta steel company and a lot of issues arose from the privatization process .”
He explained the efforts of the Buhari led government to bring the legal battle to an end.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration came on board and reviewed the situation. It was realised that it was in the country’s best interest to continue the mediation exercise started by President Gooldluck Jonathan’s administration and what we did was to fast track the process and end the long legal battle”
Mr Oyebode then explained the new method adopted to achievement recorded in the modified agreement.
“Part of the what we’ve achieved for the country’s re-mediation process was to get Ajaokuta steel Company back to the Nigerian government and let Global Steel Limited hold on to NIOMCO and the Ajaokuta and the agreement was reached in that regard”
He explained that despite concessioning NIOMCO to Global Steel, Nigerian government remains in charge of everything.
“The Global Steel and NIOMCO’s part of the agreement reached with the Federal government is to work within the timeline set by the mediation process and also do a business plan for the Federal government to approve. Global steel has completed its auditing process and the federal government has also completed its own and a consulting firm is now harmonizing the audit report.”
Mr Oyebode also pointed out that part of the agreement reached by the mediation process is that whatever iron ore NIOMCO produces must first be fed to Ajaokuta and Aladie Steel companies before its sold to the third party.