A director of Global Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL), Dr. S. O. Nwanbuokei, an engineer, has debunked a claim by Minister of Mines and Steel Development Dr Kayode Fayemi that the protracted litigation surrounding Ajaokuta Steel has been resolved.
In his speech at the Second Annual Nigeria Mining Week, the minister said the signing of a ‘Modified Concession Agreement’ between Nigeria and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited effectively resolved the protracted litigations surrounding the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel.
“The implication of the signing is that ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited has now reverted to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and we can now proceed to engage a new core investor with the financial and technical capacity to run the steel complex.”
But, Nwanbuokei, whose firm is a party to the dispute said in a statement that he was not aware of the resolution, nor has a settlement been reached.
“Although the company expects to be party to the resolution so referred to, we are not aware that the Ajaokuta Steel Company issue has been resolved. We are aware, however, that the delay in resolving the matter is not caused by GSHL. The company has been open to and cooperated in all the requisite terms precedent to an amicable resolution of the matter.
“We put in all our efforts to conclude the Due Diligence process in the NIOMCO Itakpe with the conviction that the next phases of compliance with the terms of the International Court of Arbitration would be speedily determined. We regret that this has not been the case.
“We are afraid that a message of a similar incorrect formulation may grossly mislead stakeholders both in Nigeria and abroad. We, therefore, request the statement to be removed from the official website address of the Ministry of Steel.
“We need to emphasise that GSHL and the FGN are still in mediation claim on assets which is still binding and therefore no investor can come in until this is finally determined. We are also convinced that the over three years of this mediation is more than enough time to have all the associated issues of the Ajaokuta Steel company and indeed the Nigerian steel dream concluded.
“We, therefore, beseech mediators to eschew extraneous interferences and distractions in order to realise the set objectives of this process,” he said.