Politics News

Reps seek details of Nigeria-Russia agreement on Ajaokuta Steel Company

The House of Representatives has mandated its relevant committees to get details of the agreement between Nigeria and Russia on the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd.

The committees which include steel as well as treaties, protocols and agreements are to interface with the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.

This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Nkem Abonta (PDP-Abia) at the plenary on Tuesday.

Moving the motion earlier, Abonta said that it was in order to ensure a seamless ratification of such an agreement in line with the provisions of relevant laws.

Abonta recalled that the 8th National Assembly passed the Ajaokuta Steel Completion Fund Bill in 2018 and transmitted it to the president for assent, but he withheld assent to the bill.

Abonta said that the bill was reviewed and the concerns raised by the president addressed, and had passed the first reading in the 9th House of Representatives.

He observec that media reports claimed that President Mohammadu Buhari signed a government-to-government agreement with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin at the recently concluded Russian-Africa summit in Sochi.

He said that the Russian Engineering and Construction Group, MetProm, ”is to undertake necessary work to bring Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd. into operation.

Abonta said that it would be financed by the state-owned Russian Export Centre, JSC, and the Cairo-based African Export-Import Bank.

The legislator said that Section 12 of the constitution provides that no treaty between the federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.

He said that the National Assembly as an arm of government was responsible for making laws for the peace, order and good governance of Nigeria.

Abonta said that the parliament was also passionate about national development, including revamping the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd.

According to him, the National Assembly is not privy to the details of the agreement signed by President Buhari and his Russian counterpart.

Abonta, however, commended the action of the President in taking pragmatic steps towards ensuring the full operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd.

The house mandated the Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements to review all extant treaties entered into by the Federal Government and other countries with a view to invoking Section 12(1) of the constitution on implementation of such agreements.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House mandated the committees to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.


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