The Senate on Thursday implored the federal government to urgently put machinery in place to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company, saying the move will create employment for local craft men, physically challenged at home and abroad and professionals in all fields.
The Senate also advised the federal government to immediately commence the immediate rehabilitation of rail line and dredging of the water ways linking Ajaokuta.
The chamber also mandated its committee on power and steel development to henceforth undertake a holistic investigation of the reasons Ajaokuta Steel Company and other steel plants in Nigeria are not operational and consequently advance recommendations for their effective take-off.
According to Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), who moved the motion, the country has in the past nine years spent whopping a N2.1 trillion to import steel into the country.
While lamenting that the steel sector spends over N500 billion annually on steel importation, Melaye said if the steel sector is revived, it will have the capacity to rival the oil sector.
He further lamented that despite the huge sums expended on the steel sector in less than a decade, the sector has continued to be bedevilled by multifarious challenges.
The Senate also mandated its committee on anti-corruption, financial crimes, drugs and narcotics to liaise with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on how the legislature can best support the two institutions to effectively discharge their responsibilities.
The parliament also advised the anti-graft agencies to assert its independence and resist external influence to avoid being used as agents of political witch-hunt.
It also directed the committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters to review all laws relating to economic and financial crimes and corruption to enhance speedy dispensation of justice on issues bordering on corruption.
The senators also asked the committee on information and national orientation to embark on deliberate civic education for the citizenry as well as the youths from elementary to tertiary institutions.
The motion was moved by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) who noted that corruption had done huge damage to Nigeria’s image for many decades and consequently inflicted hardship on millions of Nigerians.
Regretting that “corruption has damaged our individual and collective image externally,” Bwacha said the menace of corruption is not only restricted to the political class and public servants but has also been prevalent in civil service.
While noting the need to encourage President Muhammadu Buhari to continue in the fight against corruption, Bwacha advised the president to make the fight transparent, devoid of sentiment or political witch-hunt.