The Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba has identified corruption as the major factor militating against the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.
The three-term Senator representing Cross River Central Senatorial District, who spoke in Abuja, maintained that if not for corruption, the project which started almost 40 years ago should have been completed.
Apparently worried by the pitiable condition of the steel company, believed to have the capacity of creating over two million jobs for Nigerians, he said: ?I feel diminished as a Nigerian each time I remember the story of Ajaokuta Steel. That project started when I was still an undergraduate. And in a few years, I would have been a graduate for 40 years. Yet, the project is still going on. So, there are a number of issues. That it hasn?t worked certainly has been as a result of corruption. For Heaven?s sake, even for the pride of the nation, I think that project has dragged on for too long, that we should as a nation be embarrassed that almost 40 years later, we are still talking about an uncompleted Ajaokuta Steel.?
On whether he subscribes to the claim that there are external forces working with some selfish individuals in the country to dissuade the government from completing the steel project, the number-three man in the Upper Chamber declared that, ?I don?t have evidence. I don?t have any fact. So, I can?t draw a conclusion. But one thing I can say with certainty, if we as Nigerians are determined to complete Ajaokuta Steel, we will complete it, external forces notwithstanding. I mean, no amount of external forces should stop the completion of a project that is capable of bringing total transformation and advancement to our economy.?
Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Niger Delta affairs, Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, had in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Michael Jegede, asserted that some people within the government circle are collaborating with outsiders to discourage President Goodluck Jonathan from completing the project, even though he (Jonathan) is seen to be highly passionate about Ajaokuta Steel.