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By: Ruth Tene Natsa on June 12, 2013 - 12:25am
The community hosting the Delta Steel Company Ovwian, Aladja has warned that it will take over the land, equipment and facilities of the plant should the government of Nigeria allow the return of the Indian Steel magnate, Pramod Mittal to the company.
In a clearly worded open letter signed by key stakeholders, the chairman of Udu Council of Chiefs of behalf of the 32 communities that make up Udu, the Otota of Udu Kingdom, Chief Sam Odibo warned that while the people might not be against privatisation, they would not guarantee peace if the same characters that reduced the company to its current status shows up again.
The letter read “If for any reason the management led by Pramod Mittal is allowed to takeover Delta Steel again, the host communities of Ovwian and Aladja will take over the entire land, including places occupied by the company’s staff quarters. In short, the host communities are determined not to allow any access to the defaulting promoters of Delta Steel under any circumstances in the future,” said the statement.
Indications at the moment have shown that the “Mittal Brothers” trading under the name Global Infrastructure Nigeria, Limited, GINL who lost the plant following the cancellation of its sale to them in 2008 by former President Umaru Yar’Adua for alleged assets stripping, are now mobilising to re-take the plant”
It is to be recalled that the sale of the Delta Steel Company was mired in controversy and in the past the Senate Ad-Hoc committee probing the privatisation deals of the BPE was expressly displeased with the sale of Delta to Global. This had prompted the recommendation by the Committee on the sale of the steel company to GINL be reversed.
It was also alleged that several hundreds of retired Nigerian staff of the Delta Steel Company have died since 2005, awaiting their pension entitlements according to the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP). NUP had said that of the N 11.709 billion owed to the senior citizens, the Delta management settled only partially. The company’s expatriate workers also recently claimed that the company owed them 11 months salary, forcing them to live as destitutes in a foreign land. Media reports say that more than N 10 billion is also owed as electricity bills.
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