Reps Enraged as Ministers ‘Boycott’ Debate on Ajaokuta Steel

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Kayode Fayemi, minister of mines and steel development; and Kemi Adeosun, his finance counterpart, are not attending the ongoing debate of the house of representatives on the Ajaokuta steel company.

Both of them were invited to the debate which is being presided over by Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house.

Shortly after the debate began, Dogara asked if the ministers were around.

He then read a letter dated February 16 which the house wrote the ministry of mines and steel development, inviting the minister.

He said the ministry replied about two weeks after and in the reply, signed by the ministry’s permanent secretary, the ministry indicated that its officials will not be able to attend the event.

Quoting the permanent secretary, Dogara said the reasons given in the reply was that Fayemi, as well as the minister of state, were slated for official engagements on the day of the debate

“This ministry views this debate as a strong legislative intervention in efforts to revive the company. It is eager and willing to work together with the house to bring back the company’s progression,” Dogara quoted the permanent secretary as saying.

He regretted that despite a second letter written to the ministry, insisting their presence is important, none of the ministry’s officials attended the event.

“Boycotting thus debate lends credence to the allegation against some top officials of the ministry of the plan to concession the Ajaokuta steel company,” he said.

Some of the lawmakers who spoke afterwards expressed anger and frustration that the government officials “are crossing the line”.

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