President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected a bill seeking to stop the concession of Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Buhari announced his decision to withhold assent to the bill via a letter read during senate plenary on Tuesday.
The bill for an act to provide for the Ajaokuta Steel Company completion fund was passed by the house of representatives in March, 2018, and by the senate in December.
In the letter read by Senate President Bukola Saraki, Buhari said appropriating $1 billion from the excess crude account, which the bill had provided for, is “not the best strategic option for Nigeria at this time of budgetary constraints.”
“Furthermore, as the excess crude account funds belong to the federation, it would be proper to consult with the national economic council and the states,” he added.
“Relevant stakeholders, such as the ministry of mines and steel development and the ministry of industry, trade and investment were not fully consulted.”
There has been a lingering controversy surrounding the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The lawmakers had earlier asked Buhari to direct Kayode Fayemi, then minister of mines and steel development, to stop the process of concession.
Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house, had said $5.1 billion has so far been invested in the steel company located in Kogi state.
The failure of the green chamber to convince the federal government to shelve plans to concession the company led to the introduction of the bill by 301 of the 360 lawmakers.
The rescucitation of the steel company was part of Buhari’s campaign promises in 2015.