The Urhobo Research and Solidarity Movement has taken a swipe at another group called The Emerging Delta over allegations of assets stripping leveled against the management of Premium Steel and Mines Limited in Ovwian-Aladja, Delta state, describing the allegation as a hatchet job by those desperate on pulling down the company for their selfish gains.
In an open letter signed on behalf of the Urhobo Research group by Dr. Emmanuel Apah, convener, John Oghenekparowho, Secretary and Peter Edijala, Public Relations Officer, the group dismissed the SOS letter by the Emerging Delta group to President Muhammadu Buhari, as an irresponsible politicking devoid of concern for the progress of the company and the progress made so far under the new management.
“Let us begin with the allegations that PSML is selling assets of the company for which the company has invested billions of Naira in both pre and post acquisition financial commitments. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“As a research group in Urhoboland with headquarters in Ovwian, one of the principal hosts to the steel company, we have taken time off to conduct indebt investigation into the profile of PSML, performance records and progress made by the company since the take-over of management of the plant.
“We make bold to say that the said ‘’The Emerging Delta’’ group, convened by one Mr. Stanley Efe may have written out of ignorance and his opinion does not reflect the reality, the common interest of the people and the way forward for the company which is highly treasured among all Urhobo people and Deltans alike.
“There is nothing like assets stripping going on in the company. One thing Mr. President must appreciate is that a company like the old DSC, which was commissioned in 1982, operated for several years before it closed shop for over 10 years before a company acquired it in government privatization effort, ran it unsuccessfully for about five years and was kicked out for not meeting up to expectations before Premium Steel took it over.
“Between when the last investors left and Premium Steel took over, many equipment, machines and machineries in the plant were obviously overtaken by rot. Many of the old equipment installed since 1982 have become unserviceable and obsolete. Besides, with new cutting edge technology in the steel industry worldwide, many of those old machines and machineries cannot fit into modern technological demands. Therefore, laying off of obsolete equipment and replacing same with modern technology cannot be considered to be assets stripping.
‘’Before PSML took over the company, there was less than 50 staff on duty. Today, there are over 500 staff resuming one duty or the other every day at the plant. The rolling mill is producing the best rods for major construction companies.
“Dangote Limited, CCECC and other top flight construction giants in Nigeria are in hot demand of the company products placing order for supply of rods spanning several months. This certainly is not a sign of a company that is not doing well. Dangote and CCECC will have nothing to do with the company if they are not sure of the standard of products as their quality control units have certified PSML steel products to be of international standard.
“PSML is not producing rods from scraps but from imported billets. So far two shipments of billets have berthed in the refurbished PSML jetty duly certified by the relevant federal government agencies. There is a third shipment being expected in a matter of days and also back to back shipment will follow to increase activities in the plant.
“The SMS section is getting serious attention and soon that section would come on-stream with a multiplier effect on the entire value chain. More jobs would be created and in a matter of time, over 3,000 direct staff would be on board the company payroll. What more do we want if not a completely revitalized steel company so as to bring back the old glory of the former DSC?
“Assets stripping is the language many corporate competitors deploy to harass the Indians but the truth remains that if you are given those equipment, you would not have anything useful to do with them.
“Take for instance, if you resume in a new office and what you see are old manual type-writers, big desktops occupying space whereas you can deploy lap-tops to perform same functions, selling the typewriters may be misconstrued by competitors and malicious members of the public as assets stripping, whereas, the sale is in the best interest of the company.
“Many of us refuse to go closer to the company to get first hand information from them on what is going on in the plant, yet they keep throwing missiles from afar all in attempt at frustrating the efforts of the current investors. There are vicious industrial experts lurking in the dark, sustaining debilitating media attacks on PSML with a view to chasing them away for them to take over.
“We know them and we have refused to buy into their argument. The so called Emerging Delta group said they conducted investigations with a vicious verdict on the company. But our checks reveal that no such group came close to the company gate.
“We are pretty sure the group is a one man arm chair squad on a hatchet job and Urhobo must rise up to challenge such elements to desist from any act capable of bringing the plant to run a vicious circle of sale, revocation and resale thus provoking more motion without movement. If the glory of the old DSC must be fully restored, PSML must be supported to succeed.
“Finally Mr. President, we appeal to you to discountenance the dubious antics of corporate competitors who have hired many disgruntled elements to sustain a media war with Premium Steel. The company is here for serious business and so much has changed for the better since they came. Their corporate social responsibility to the host communities is excellent.
“The PSML schools and hospitals are receiving excellent and quality attention. Seven brands new IVECO trucks have been added to the existing fleet for evacuation of finished products. A company that is not interested in the growth of the plant will not invest heavily in acquisition of new equipment and machineries.
“The company is growing with leaps and bounds. Let us give PSML a chance to build on the gains of their efforts so far. In no time, the company would be fully activated and a win-win situation evolved for Ovwian-Aladja, the Udu community, the Urhobo nation, Delta state and Nigeria at large”, the statement added.