The modified re-concessioning of National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) has been described as a sham to deceive Nigerians. Recent revelations by the Builders Hub founder, Ms Natasha Akpoti, has again brought to the fore the fears that both international and local conspiracies were holding the country back from completing Nigeria’s biggest industrial investment, Ruth Tene Natsa writes.
As Nigerians react to the modified re-concessioning of Ajaokuta/Itakpe Steel Plant, stakeholders have raised various concerns pertaining to government’s commitment to completing the steel plant. Most vocal among these are issues raised by the Builders Hub founder, Ms Natasha Akpoti.
Her fears are further compounded by allegations of conspiracies by the governor of Kogi State, Governor Yahaya Bello, in connivance with Global Infrastructures Nigeria Limited (GINL) to shortchange Kogi and Nigeria as a whole.
Akpoti said the essence of the struggle was to seek a judicious revival of Ajaokuta for the socio-economic development of Nigeria’s underserved, asserting “Our aspirations are to make Ajaokuta’s impact reach the poorest communities in Nigeria.
“We do not fight it all only to have Ajaokuta manipulated into working for a few elites just like NNPC, she said, adding that “Nigeria has enough for our need but not enough for our greed” Assuring that “I am only contributing my quota to help create a Nigeria of equal opportunities so no child will suffer growing up like you and I did.”
Akpoti in an open letter posted on her Facebook wall on 2, June 2017, alleged among others that Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (GINL) was no longer owned by Pramod Mittal but a Nigerian named Alhaji Musa Bello, adding that the appearance of Pramod Mittal at the August 1, 2016 re-concession of NIOMCO was a sham to deceive Nigerians.
According to Ms Natasha “As the contract was being signed at the V.P’s office by the “fake” owner Pramod Mittal, the real owner Alhaji M. Bello was having tea with Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State right in the Wuse Zone 4 residence of the governor and that the minister of mines and steel development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the governor deceived Nigerians into believing that GINL is owned by the Indians whereas it’s owned by an unpatriotic Nigerian who is hiding behind the Indians and collaborates with those in authority to defraud Nigeria.”
Presenting the proof on how the governor used his position to selfishly manipulate Ajaokuta for the private benefit of himself and his cronies especially Alhaji Musa Bello ( the owner of GINL… the man holding Ajaokuta hostage) ,Akpoti alleged that GINL tried to lobby her.
In her words “Alhaji Musa Bello contacted me on the 12th August 2016. He urged I stopped fighting GINL as he controlled the “system” that got ministers and governors do his bids. He told me how he acquired GINL with PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) and ex AGF Adoke’s “efforts.” Alhaji told me that now that he had GINL and NIOMCO (Itakpe), his next goal was to acquire Ajaokuta Steel and even Delta steel back.
She said to achieve this, Alhaji Bello had asked for her collaboration in creating a pseudo company named Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited, where she would serve as the managing director of the company while he (Alhaji Musa Bello), the governor and others would be hidden owners.
She added that her collaboration would have also brought the TPE of Russia (original builders of Ajaokuta) to be technical partners
“I turned him down. He ended by saying “ Natasha, Governor Bello warned me that you are stubborn. I urge you to join the winning team. Anyway, with or without you, I am going to own Ajaokuta and not you or 10 of Buharis can stop me.” She said.
Natasha further added that “Alhaji Musa Bello proceeded to “formally” write to the governor seeking permission to use the name Kogi in registering the company. CAC requires a government approval for the use of certain names in businesses. Alhaji used another of his companies “AMA Investments and Infrastructure Holdings to apply.”
She noted that during the governor’s recent and only visit to Ajaokuta Steel complex on the week of the 9th May 2017, he openly expressed concern and urged the EU ambassador to “tell the Russians they have unfinished business in Ajaokuta.”
She stated that as usual usual, Kogites were excited and filled with praises while some made jokes of her , not realising that Bello was acting a script to the media while secretly he had On August 26 , 2016, given formal consent to Alhaji Musa Bello, to commence the registration of Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited as a corporate vehicle for the proposed concession of Ajaokuta steel.
Sequel to the above approval, on October the 27 , 2016, CAC registered the company, adding that the company which is supposed to own Ajaokuta for the Kogi and Nigerian people has two directors.They are Onochie Ikechukwu, an Ibo man and Anchaver Emmanuel from Benue State who are both staff of Musa Bello.
The open letter alleged that “Both Ikechukwu and Emmanuel were allotted 125,000 share capitals each totaling 250,000. The remaining 750,000 are not allotted. These are reserved for the governor and Alhaji Musa Bello and families.”