Alleged succession crisis rocks Ajaokuta Steel Company
• You are ignorant, administrator tells petitioners
• Rights group issues firm ultimatum over liabilities
A leadership crisis has brewed in Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASC), Kogi State due the alleged refusal of its sole administrator, Joseph Onobere Isah, to hand over to the most senior official at the expiration of his tenure as stipulated in extant civil service rules.
Consequently, the workers have petitioned the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) through their counsel, Salifu Oguche Usman of Abbluent Partners, Abuja.
The employees claimed that besides appointing himself in breach of the law, they further alleged that Isah had diverted funds, including promotion allowances as well as selling the company’s landed properties, thus impeding its future expansion plan.
They beseeched the SGF to act immediately by directing the administrator to proceed on retirement as well as investigating the allegations of financial impropriety and other infractions leveled against him.
Reacting, Isah accused the petitioners of acting out of ignorance.He said: “I was appointed Sole Administrator in November 2012. Technically, by that appointment, my civil service career ended because my appointment is a political appointment. I earn a political appointee’s salary. My appointment letter is there for anyone to see.”
Meanwhile, the Delta State chapter of the Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has issued a 31-day ultimatum to Premium Steel and Mines Limited (PSML) to defray the pay of contractors who did business with the defunct Delta Steel Company (DSC).
In a statement in Asaba, its chairman, Kehinde Prince Taiga, said the group could not stand aloof while the contractors are subjected to untold hardship. He alleged that since AMCON and Premium Steel and Mines took over the company, contractors had been denied payment for contracts executed.