ABUJA, Nigeria – The House of Representatives has mandated its committees on Steel and, Treaties, Protocols and Agreements to interface with the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite on details of the agreement between Nigeria and Russia on Ajaokuta Steel mill.
The House reached the resolution following the adoption of a motion moved by Uzoma Abonta from Abia state on Tuesday during plenary.
In the motion, Abonta disclosed that the government to government agreement between Nigeria and Russia signed on behalf of Nigeria by President Buhari is yet to be sent to the National Assembly for ratification which according to him is against section 12 of the 1999 constitution.
In his motion, Uzoma said that “31 October, 2019, President Mohammadu Buhari signed a government-to-government agreement with the Russian President, Vladimir 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 Center JSC and the Cairo-based African Export-Import Bank.”
“The 8th National Assembly passed the Ajaokuta Steel Completion Fund Bill in 2018 and transmitted it to the President for assent, but he withheld assent to the Bill raising certain reservations.
“The Bill has been reviewed and the concerns raised by the President addressed, regazzeted and has passed First Reading in the 9th House of Representatives.
“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.
“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 signed by President M. Buhari and his Russian counterpart.”
While commending “the action of the President in taking pragmatic steps towards ensuring the full operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company.” He noted that “statutory provisions regarding the ratification and or implementation of treaties or international agreements to be followed so as to streamline government efforts carried out by its distinct arms for the overall benefit of the people.”
Speaking on the motion, the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu said that the issue needs no motion before the executive complies with the constitution.
The House also mandated the Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements to review all extant treaties entered into by the Federal Government and other Countries with a view to invoking Section 12(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amendment) on implementation of such