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You didn't mention a year or model, go generally speaking an airbag light doesn't necessarily mean that the airbag is faulty. On some cars the airbag light also checks the seatbelts, the SRS control unit, associated wiring as well as the crash sensors. Also, on some luxury cars the light also detects steering wheel position sensor.
There is a device called a "clock spring" inside the steering wheel/column. It contains all the various wires to the buttons on the steering wheel. Sometimes these clock springs that wind and unwind every time the steering wheel is used simply wear out or break causing the problem you cite - no electricity gets to the buttons on the steering whell. Replacing the "clock spring" is mildly expensive. Parts and labor about 400-500 bucks.
set steering whell straight. push rubber boot up there is a 12mm/7-16 bolt that connects the steering shaft to the rack and pinion removeboth fron tires remove p/s lines and all other fastners for the rack and pinion
Need to have a quick look to be sure ,trying to diagnose from a non mechanics descriptions ?? could be anything from the mat caught up in the steering column to a siezed rack and pinion .If it was the pump the steering would still work .Really need to kick the wheels to advise properly here