Prof. Benjamine Adewuyi, Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure, has called on the National Assembly to pass the Nigerian Metallurgical Industrial Bill ( NMIB) into law.
Adewuyi, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday, in Abuja, noted that the bill had spent over 10 years in the National Assembly.
He urged the parliamentarians to consider the sensitivity of the sector and pass the bill into law, so as to revitalise the sector.
” The bill is very important to the growth of the metallurgical sector in Nigeria; it does not speak well of such a sensitive sector not to have a law to protect it.
” If the bill is signed into law, it will control excesses of steel manufacturers or steel producers, as well as curb both economic and human losses in the industry.
” Presently, without the bill, little or nothing is being done to cater for the health, safety, environmental conditions and general welfare of workers in the industries who are exposed to industrial hazards.
” The bill is expected to, among others, to minimise loss of revenue that the country continues to suffer due to non regulation of the sector, ” he said.
He said that the bill provided a regulatory framework to ensure that operations in the steel sector were in line with the global practice.
The don said that the issue of slave labour, inadequate or substandard safety kits, resulting in serious injuries and even death, in some cases without compensation would be minimised.
Adewuyi said that the bill was drafted by major stakeholders in the metal sector, spearheaded by the Nigeria Metallurgical Society and the African Iron and Steel Association, among others, and sent to the National Assembly.
He said that the then Minister of Mines and Steel presented the bill to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which was approved in January 2014.
After the debates on the bill, it was passed by the National Assembly in 2015 and sent to the former President Good luck Jonathan who could not sign it before leaving the office, Adewuyi said.
NAN recalls that due to some observations raised on the bill by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, President Muhammadu Buhari objected to signing it.
The bill was sent back to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) by the former SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, and was received by Dr Kayode Fayemi, the then minister of MMSD, before it was later sent back to the Assembly awaiting approval again.
The don explained that the bill was in the news immediately Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, assumed office as the Speaker of the House.
“We have not heard anything again about the bill or its whereabouts since it came out in the news dailies”. (NAN)