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Ministry misleading local, foreign investors’ on Ajaokuta Steel crisis—GSHL

After its immediate rejection of federal government’s public notice through the Ministry of Sold Minerals, Global Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL) has again objected to current information posted on the ministry’s website suggesting that issues bordering on the erstwhile concession agreement had been resolved on the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.

Otherwise, the embattled investor is calming that government is foot-dragging on resolving the crisis as it has been in the habit of delaying conclusion of ongoing talks.

Accordingly, GSHL, on Friday appealed to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to withdraw the information on its website regarding the matter, arguing that it was capable of misleading stakeholders in Nigeria and abroad.

In a statement made available Business Hilights Bureau Chief in Abuja, a director of the GSHL, Mr. S. O. Nwanbuokei, averred that “The attention of Global Steel Holdings Limited has been drawn to the minister’s speech at the 2nd Annual Nigeria Mining Week published on the official website of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development where it was stated inter alia, ‘The implication of the signing is that the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited has now reverted to the Federal Government’.

“In view of the formality of the tribune used and the stakeholders addressed, GSHL wishes to state as follows: 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.”

Nwanbuokei noted further that “We put in all our efforts to conclude the due diligence process in the National Iron Ore Mining Company, 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 Mines and Steel Development. 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.

The company also argued that “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.”

Efforts to get response from the ministry failed weekend as officials denied to comment, saying only the minister can talk on the matter as it is now.