The Deputy Secretary General of the African Iron and Steel Association (AISA), Solomon Adeyemo, has expressed confidence that the Ajaokuta Steel Company would be made functional as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Adeyemo, who spoke at the weekend when he received a certificate of credence from Public Office Holders Association of Nigeria (POHAN), based his confidence on the belief that the issue is very close to President Buhari’s heart.
The steel company, which was said to have been 90 per cent completed in 1984 by the late President Shehu Shagari, has been abandoned by successive administrations.
Shagari and Leonid Brezhnev led Nigeria and Russia when the two countries first started to build the steel rolling mill in 1979. 40 years after, Nigeria returned to Russia for a bilateral agreement to resuscitate the now derelict steel factory complex.
The agreement to revive the Ajaokuta project was reached during a meeting between President Buhari and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Russia in October last year. The accord is essentially to make some sections of the factory to begin production before the end of 2019, according to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite.x
The deputy secretary general of AISA said that with the disclosure by President Buhari that he had set up a committee of professionals to ensure immediate take off of the steel firm, “all we need to do is to keep our fingers crossed and be praying for that committee to achieve the goal.”
On what it means for Nigeria if Ajaokuta is made functional, Adeyemo said: “Steel is the bedrock of every development in any country.
Go to China and the Asian countries where we have steel industries that are working, they put them to use. The per capita income of China, at a time, was measured by the quantity of steel that they produced. There cannot be any meaningful development in any country without steel.”