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Weeds and rodents invade the premises of the Steyr assembly plant in Bauchi

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By Ahmed Kaigama
Weeds and rodents have taken over the premises of Steyr (Nigeria) Ltd, Bauchi, one of four auto assembly plants established in the country about 40 years ago.

A correspondent for the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) who visited the company’s premises, also observes that the road leading to the factory is now used for drying agricultural products.

Mr. Ibrahim Buba, a member of staff in the company’s marketing department, told NAN that the factory, which began to assemble trucks, tractors and buses, has long been dying.

Buba said the company’s problems started after it was privatized by the federal government, which led to the transfer of ownership to individuals.

According to him, the staff union and factory management are in court over assets and responsibilities, including employee rights, among others.

Another company employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also told NAN that the company had stopped production since 2007.

The source told NAN that he has been on staff since 1980, nostalgically revealing that during the pink years, Steyr Motors assembled 5,000 tractors, 2,000 trucks and 2,000 buses a year, for the Nigerian market.

The source said the government pulled its shares in the company during the military era and then sold them to people who failed to maintain production.

He explained that in 2007 the company had more than 2,000 employees, adding that they had spent more than six years now without pay.

“No one sent us back and no one saved us. We have spent over six years without pay; in fact, three years ago we had to resort to litigation; we brought them to justice, ”he said.

Some of the company’s staff, who also did not wish to be mentioned, said the company could still be revived if the government takes over the factory and invites competent expatriates to run it.

NAN’s efforts to get comments from the company’s key private stakeholders were unsuccessful as those of Bauchi declined to comment.

Several NAN visits to the office of Bauchi State Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Ms Maryam Begel, did not yield any results as she was reportedly on an official mission somewhere.

A ministry official told NAN that the commissioner was the only person authorized to speak on matters of politics and government, unless she allowed someone else to speak on her behalf. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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