MINISTER of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday, announced that the Federal Government has not concessioned the Ajaokuta Steel Company to any foreign company, saying the original concession agreement which was signed between Nigeria, Global Steel Holding Limited and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited has been re-modified.
He explained that it was modified to decouple Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited from Nigeria Iron Ore Mining Company in Itakpe.
The minister, while playing host to the Executive Director of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Masade, who led a team of civil society organisations on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja, then described the rumour as misleading.
According to him, “what that also portends is that Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited now has seven years of their original concession to complete the mining operation to operate neo-coal in Itakpe, whereas Ajaokuta has reverted to the government of Nigeria. So, it is now being held by the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Fayemi, therefore, expressed concerns over the activities of illegal miners in Nigeria, lamenting that there was no official engagement with anybody on the steel company.
The minister, who was represented by his technical adviser, Mr Egghead Odewale, said the artisan miners, as well as those who work under the radars and the illegal activities, were part of the development challenges facing the country.
The meeting was to engage the minister and critical stakeholders on the forthcoming conference on sustainability in the extractive industries, scheduled for next month.