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Mining Union faults FG on planned sale of ASCO, wants CBN Gov sacked

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The umbrella body responsible for the affairs of mines workers in Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Mines Workers (NUMW) has called for the resignation or outright sack of the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN) of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele over what it described as the inability of the apex financial institution to articulate policy measure that will lead to the rejuvenation of the moribund Federal-Government owned Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO), adding that government’s disposition to selling ASCO, a decision supported by the CBN, reflects the intellectual poverty of the country’s apex financial institution.

It could be recall that while briefing the Nigerian delegation at the end of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Group meetings in Bali, Indonesia, recently, Emefiele said Ajaokuta Steel Company and other national assets will be sold to service the 2018 deficit budget.
While describing ASCO as the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization which must be nurtured and prioritized as an emblem of National Pride, the National President of the Mining Union, Comr. Hamza Mohammed called on government to ensure that ASCO remains under domestic ownership and control, adding that countries which developed their indigenous steel sectors have become better for it.

He tasked Emefiele and the Minister of Finance to articulate a policy direction for the funds needed to resuscitate ASCO, he called on the Senate to intervene by ensuring that the nations institutions in the finance sector work toward articulating a poly measure to address the problem.
“The Nigerian Union of Miens Workers entirely kicks against any form of sale or transfer of ownership of ASCO to foreign bodies or organizations as it is not the best for the development of Nigeria’s industrial sector,” he said.
Hamza who commended the Nigeria Metallurgical Society (NMS) and other professional bodies in the sector for condemning the idea of selling ASCO, called on the federal government to urgent articulate policy measures for the utilization of ASCO in the industrialization of Nigeria, adding that unless Nigeria develops her industrial sectors, it will not be able to play big in the committee of nations.
Hamza noted that it is not a good policy proposal to say that ASCO should be sold for the purpose of financing the 2018 budget, adding that only a mindless government will sell such a highly strategic institution to finance a year’s budget.

While stating that “the industrialization of ASCO, National Iron Ore mining Company (NIOMCO), Delta Steel Company (DSC) and the development of Nigeria’s iron and steel sector have never been negotiable and is still not negotiable, and will never be negotiable,” Hamza warned that the National Executive Council of the Mining Union will soon convene to deliberate on the necessity of embarking on a nationwide strike action if government does not heed the clarion call to shelve plans of selling the steel complex.
Hamza said: “It is socially, industrially and economically injurious to Nigeria to transfer in any way the ownership and control of ASCO to any individual or corporate entity,” adding that the federal government must ensure that it retains one hundred percent ownership and control of the systems.

Hamza who explained that Nigeria’s current economic challenges are the result of the failure of various governments to utilize the country’s human and natural resources, adding that government must act beyond the rhetoric of saying that ASCO can create huge number of jobs. “We know that ASCO can create huge number of jobs and we know that government also knows that, what we want government to do is to resuscitate ASCO so that it will deliver the beautiful promises of the sector to Nigerians.”
“No country can join the rank of super powers unless it develops its steel sector. I expect that government knows that the development of a country’s steel sector is will ignite the development of all industrial sectors of the country’s economy,” he said, and explained that it is only when ASCO begins the production of liquid steel that Nigeria can become a manufacturer of steel products like motor vehicles, airplanes and various steel instruments that symbolize national power and glory.

Discussing the strategic nature of ASCO to the industrial development of Nigeria and the African continent, Hamza said: “The Mining union laments that government handles with levity the importance of ASCO,” saying that ASCO is reputed as the largest steel plant in Africa.

Discussing other advantages of resuscitating ASCO, Hamza noted that apart from being able to generate more than five hundred thousand direct and indirect jobs, ASCO has the ability to become a major revenue earner for the government while also improving the Nigerian economy, if resuscitated.
Recalling one of the campaign promises that thrilled the union during the electioneering campaign of General Muhammadu Buhari, Hamza said Gen Buhari has assured that the steel sector will be developed as a major revenue earner for the country. He therefore tasked the federal government to live up to expectation of Nigerians in the steel sector saying that if ASCO is sold, it will augur well for the industrial development of Nigeria.
While calling on government to stop the exportation of unprocessed solid minerals, Hamza stressed the need to ensure value addition to solid minerals before they are exported to other countries, adding that a lot of jobs will be created for Nigerians if government effectively outlaws the export of processed solid minerals.

While he lamented that Nigeria suffers huge revenue losses when businessmen foreigners mine and export undeveloped solid minerals, he said government must exercise the strong will requisite for the resuscitation of ASCO, stating that if ASCO was resuscitated, steel raw materials will be mines and used to feed the production needs of the integrated steel complex.
“It is only when Ajaokuta Steel Company is resuscitated, the iron ore is mined in Itakpe would be easy moved to ASCO for onward use in the production of steel,” he said.

While he specifically noted that the potentials of the Nigerian steel industry have dastardly abused by foreign nationals, notably Indians, who were entrusted with the task of managing it, he tasked the Buhari administration to activate its institutions to develop a framework for the urgent activation of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Delta Steel Company and the National iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, stating that apart from these, government should stair up the interest of the organized private sector to participate in the development of the country’s steel sector.

Politics

1.6m Votes’ Claim: PDP, Atiku Have Slipped Into Post-Election Depression, Hallucination

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Following the outcome of the Presidential Election, during which a vast majority of Nigerians reaffirmed their unshaken belief in President Muhammadu Buhari to continue to steer the affairs of the country for another four years, we have watched in disbelief and utter amusement how the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have engaged in series of circus shows to cheer up their crestfallen and disillusioned members. This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary All Progressives Congress (APC),Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu on Wednesday.

Onilu said while the APC is not oblivious of the PDP’s antics to discredit the credible presidential electoral process, acknowledged by local and international observers, we sympathise with Atiku for the crushing defeat handed him by President Buhari through the votes of Nigerians.

He noted that , Judging by Atiku and PDP’s recent utterances and actions, it is now clear that they have slipped into severe depression and post-defeat hallucination that have left many Nigerians questioning their current state of mind.

Onilu stated that after weeks of dilly-dallying, the PDP has woken up to the stark reality of its electoral defeat and decided to follow the constitutional path of filing a petition at the Election Tribunal. However, of all the prayers of Atiku before the Election Tribunal, which are at best hollow, the most ridiculous is his claim that the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicated he ‘won’ the Presidential Election by 1.6million votes.

He said further that a few questions would suffice: Is this phantom figure of 1.6million votes Dubai-invented? Was the result sold to Atiku by his numerous marabouts, who we understand, had assured him that the last election was a done deal for him?

“Most importantly, we note Atiku’s consistent reference to the “INEC server” as if he is the custodian of that platform. Indeed, Atiku’s constant reference to the INEC server should raise concerns as it is becoming apparent that he and the PDP are up for some dastard activities that are targeted at jeopardizing the INEC database and internal storage system. We recall the widespread reported cases of several programmed card readers that were retrieved from some PDP agents and their failed attempt to hack the INEC database in the leadup to the then postponed presidential election” he said.

Onilu reminded the Atiku and PDP that Nigerians saw through the devious schemes aimed at thwarting their will. Consequently, majority of the voters handed them a harsh verdict — that verdict remains sacrosanct.

And called on the INEC and the security agencies to be on red alert to ensure that Atiku and the other desperate characters in the PDP are not able to execute their evil plans.

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Politics

Bauchi PDP tasks INEC on justice and fairness

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bauchi State, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to respect the Laws of the land to be fairn and just to all political parties.

Alhaji Hamza Akuyam, the State Chairman of the PDP made the call while reacting to a Court Order on collation of election results in Bauchi on Tuesday.

He said INEC should be seen to be a body that respected the laws of the land.

“The decision of INEC to jettison resumption of collation of the gubernatorial election results from Tafawa-Balewa LGA is very unfortunate and uncalled for despite the court order.

“Considering the provisions of section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, no court can stop INEC from performing its function in relation to electoral processes,” he said

Akuyam pointed out that if the court would refuse to grant the request to stop INEC in Adamawa State on the issue of election, he saw no reason why that of Bauchi state should be different.

“Are we having a different law to determine the same issue in every state?” he queried.

He added that he PDP would not allow the matter to just go like that.

He however urged PDP supporters in the state to remain law abiding and orderly, assuring that no one could take away the mandate given to the party by the teeming people of the state.

He expressed optimism that no matter how long it took for the party to pursue the case, it would do so.

“The point is that we won the election in the state, results have been collated and all that remains to be done is to declare and announce the result. All we are waiting for is the completion of the process .

“They can only prolong the process but it cannot stop it because we won the election and it is very glaring.

“The vehicles of the thugs who disrupted the collation process in Zwall were handed over to the police, yet nothing has been done about them,” akuyam said.

Our correspondent recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja stopped INEC from going on with the collation of the gubernatorial election results from the Tafawa-Balewa LGA, Bauchi, earlier scheduled to be re-collated on Tuesday.

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Nabena exposes fresh plot to hijack 9th NASS leadership by Saraki, PDP

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…Urges APC to rollout zoning arrangements

As the political scheming for the leadership of the incoming National Assembly heightens, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Yekini Nabena has alleged a fresh move by the outgoing Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the minority Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus to decide the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives.

The plans, according to Nabena is also in tandem with what he called “Otta farm”, warning his ruling party to urgently rollout the zoning arrangements to avoid the repeat of what happened in 2015.

Both incumbent Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara emerged Senate President and Speaker against the party’s wish in the outgoing 8th National Assembly.

Speaking with newsmen Tuesday in Abuja, Nabena alleged that the outgoing Senate President and his party (PDP) have devised plans to ensure that there loyalists take control of the legislative arm of government.

Nabena said: “The outgoing Senate President and the PDP caucus have begun surreptitious move to lure some new APC lawmakers with juicy committee position in return for their support for the PDP choice for the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives.

“Already, Saraki’s henchman, Dino Melaye and some other returning PDP federal lawmakers have scheduled meetings with some APC lawmakers from Wednesday to Sunday in a yet-to-be announced venue.”

While calling for urgent intervention by the APC leadership, the Deputy spokesman stated that “It is important that the APC leadership meet and urgently rollout a fair zoning arrangement to ensure that we produce our preferred candidates for all leadership positions in the incoming National Assembly.

“Since Saraki lost his bid to return to the Senate and control of his home state, Kwara, he has devised a plan to ensure that he influences the choice of the incoming National Assembly Leadership. This is Saraki’s last-ditch effort to remain politically relevant.”

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