20 December 2015, Lokoja – Against the backdrop of dwindling oil revenue and the need to diversify the economy, the minister of solid minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has restated government’s commitment to revive Ajaokuta steel company, saying it is in the front-burner of the present administration.
The minister stated this yesterday at Ajaokuta steel complex in Kogi State during a one-day official visit to the company, adding that the new government is approaching the company holistically to ensure that the steel complex works for the benefit of Nigerians.
“I want to let you know that the president is very passionate about the Ajaokuta steel company. We will take a look at the company holistically with a view of making it work for the benefits of Nigerians. I’m here on a fact finding mission. I have read much about the steel complex and have been briefed by the sole administrator. We will make final decision on the complex which Nigerians would be happy about it.
“We are looking at the entire steel complex. We are not going to segment the plant. We are told that the captive power plant, has been reactivated. After taking the one needed by the company, we will be happy if Kogi and its environs could benefit from the remaining megawatts.”
Earlier, the sole Administrator of the company, Isah Joseph Onobere, noted that since the termination of the Russian contractor, the original designers of the company, in 1994, no significant progress was made in the fortunes of the company.
He called on the government to ensure the timely completion of the company, saying that the minister’s visit after few months in office, is a clear demonstration of government’s good intention to complete the steel plant.
He described the much-touted obsolete nature of the technology adopted by the Ajaokuta steel company as borne largely out of ignorance and campaign of calumny against the Nigerian state.
According to him, the campaign is to ensure that the company perpetually remains a dumping ground for steel products from the developed nations. He commended the workers of the company for their resilience, saying that they have shown uncommon patriotism in defending and protecting the steel plant equipment and facilities in the last 21 years.
Speaking also the two unions, Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN), and Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN), said no nation can attain economic stability, real industrial and technological advancement without massive investment in the steel sector.
- This Day