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Kogi employees vow to resist concessioning of Ajaokuta Steel Company

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Ajaokuta plant

Organised labour in Kogi State has vowed to resist any attempt by the federal government to concession or sell the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASC) in the state.

The state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Onuh Edoka, and the chairman of Nigeria Union of Mines Workers (NUMW), ASC chapter, MomohJimoh Salami, made the position of the workers known yesterday during the May Day rally at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja.

According to them, the company remains a national asset, which should not be discarded in the name of concessioning.

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Instead, the labour leaders advised the federal government to set machinery in motion towards making funds available for resuscitation of the plant.

Salami argued that if the steel company was operational, Nigeria would have no reason to complain of unemployment, as the company could provide minimum of 50,000 direct employment and thousands more indirect employment youths.

He lamented the role allegedly played by world powers to frustrate the revival of the company.

“For selfish reasons, the United States of America, Britain and other European countries have continued to frustrate all efforts geared towards revamping the company, and successive governments over the years have not demonstrated any political will to revive Ajaokuta,” he said.

He also expressed concern about the recent decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to decline assent to the resolution of the National Assembly against withdrawal of $1 billion from Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the revamping the steel company.

Salami, who is also the chairman of Ajaokuta Steel Workers Union, said that by not assenting to the bill, the workers felt betrayed and demoralised, adding that the move showed that the federal government had not demonstrated any political will to revive the company.

Insisting that the union would not be party to any plan to concession the company, he urged the federal government to ensure full revival of the company, which he noted would boost economy of the state and country at large.


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