Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has denied alleged plans by the Federal Government to sell the Ajaokuta Steel complex, stating that the government was rather looking for ways to better put the company into use.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State disclosed this to State House correspondents after he led a delegation to find out from the Vice President if the report on the planned sale was true.
Governor Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, had hinted that the aim of the planned sale is to raise more money to implement the country’s 2018 deficit-based budget.
The Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited Plc which was offloaded, with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which already has a majority stake, emerged the preferred buyer, given the company’s security status.
Emefiele, who addressed Nigerian delegation at the just concluded the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Group meetings in Bali, Indonesia, disclosed that more national asset are going to market very soon.
According to Emefiele, “I am aware, as a member of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) that more are coming and I believe in due course that the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) will make this available for us.
“I am aware of the situation of Ajaokuta Steel Company of Nigeria. It is also on the cart, first for a total review of the process of privatisation and payment, so that our aluminum sector can eventually come alive”.
But Governor Bello told newsmen that, “First of all, the Vice President, being the Chairman of the National Economic Council, we came to make some enquiries from him over the purported sale of Ajaokuta Steel Complex and he has indicated that there is nothing like that.
“He said there is no plan by the Federal Government to sale Ajaokuta Steel Company.
“The VP said Ajaokuta is an asset of the Federal Government and that they are looking into how best to make good use of that particular complex for the benefit of Nigerians at large.”
The Kogi State governor said he also informed the Vice President of the upcoming coronation of the new Oba of Kabba on Saturday, saying, “We came to notify him as a father of the event that is coming up on Saturday and to seek for his blessings.”
On the preparation for 2019 general elections he said, “Every primary can be anchor out and everybody can hustle for one ticket or the other.
“I can assure you that we have a capable leadership of the party – President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Also, we have our able chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomole who is doing his best to ensure that the party is strong and the party is really very strong.
As for the general elections, in Kogi State, we are one hundred percent ready and we are going sweep all the state and by the grace of God, we shall bring out a vote that has never been witnessed in the North Central by the Grace of God. I can assure you as well that the 2019 elections for Mr. President, it’s going to be a walk over by the grace of God.”