Buhari Signed Ajaokuta Steel Contract Treaty Without Approval – Reps

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• Request for details of pact signed with Russia

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, expressed displeasure over President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to sign a treaty with Russia on the completion of moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company, in breach of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) without the approval of the National Assembly.

The House, while mandating the joint Committees on Steel and Treaties, Protocols and Agreements to interface with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for that purpose, said it was constitutionally required that such agreements are ratified by the National Assembly for it to have the force of the law.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, who frowned at the decision of President Buhari declining assent to the Ajaokuta Steel completion Fund Bill passed by the 8th Assembly.

Hon Nkem-Abonta who argued that Mr President’s decision raised “certain reservations”, explained that the Ajaokuta Completion Fund Bill has been reviewed and the concerns raised by the President addressed, regathered and has passed First Reading in the 9th House of Representatives.

He, however, informed the House that “reports were that President Muhammadu Buhari signed a government-to-government agreement with the Russian President, Putin at the recently concluded Russian-Africa summit in Sochi for the Russian Engineering and Construction Group MetProm to undertake necessary work to bring Ajaokuta Steel Company into operation, to be financed by the State-Owned Russian Export CenterJSC and the Cairo-based African Export-Import Bank.”

While arguing that Mr President breached the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Hon Nkem-Abonta said that “section 12 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 as amended) 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.”

While commending Mr President’s efforts which he described as pragmatic, Hon Nkem-Abonta maintained that “the National Assembly as an arm of government responsible for making laws for the peace, order and good government of Nigeria and also passionate about national development, including revamping the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company is not privy to the details of the agreement.”

To this end, the House via a resolution passed at plenary called for details of the recently signed agreement between President Buhari and his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

Credit: Tribune

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