The Federal Government, has assured Nigerians that Ajaokuta Steel Complex, which has been fallowed for decades, will start operation for the industrialization of the country.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this yesterday when the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, visited the plant in Kogi State.
In a statement, Adegbite revealed that over “10, 000 Nigerians would directly be employed by the Complex when it begin operations as well as provide secondary employment for many more. He said the Federal Government is determined to ensure the provision of jobs to take Nigerians out of poverty.”
He “explained that iron ore found in Kogi State is of higher grade and quantity than any other part of the country hence the company was sited in the state, adding that the state stands to benefit enormously from the take off of the Complex, and that the completion and take off portend a great future for Nigerians generally.”
He appreciated the Senate Committee for its support and assured that the project would be delivered to Nigerians within the targeted period of two to two and half years.
Meanwhile, governor Yahaya, stated that the State has a variety of solid minerals with majority of them untapped or under tapped.
Represented by his deputy, Edward Onoja, he said with the abundance of such minerals, his government has created a State Ministry of Sold Minerals to drive the local and foreign investment in the sector, saying “Kogi State is open to the world for solid mineral business”
Represented by his deputy, Edward Onoja, he said the state will do everything within its power to support the Federal Government’s effort to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company, with to provision of security and an enabling environment for mining business to thrive.
Earlier, the leader of the Senate delegation, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi said the fact finding visit on Ajaokuta and Itakpe came about because of a resolution by the senate to know the level of progress being made by the Federal Government on the completion of Ajaokuta Company.
Also, the Senate Committee Chairman on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Tanko Al-Makura said the visit was for them to have an on the spot assessment of the possible challenges, prospects and efforts to reactivate and resuscitate the Steel Plant with a view to ensuring that the President’s agenda to diversify the economy through solid minerals and steel is done without hitches.
He also gave assurance that the National Assembly wi support the completion and take off of the steel plant, as it would provide jobs and create wealth for Kogi people in particular and Nigerians in general.
In a related development, while on a visit to the National Iron Ore Mining Company, the Senator Abdullahi, stated that it was clear a lot of infrastructure needed to be put in place to enable the company resume proper operation.
He said despite the great challenges being encountered in the completion of the company, the commitment, dedication and determination the Ministers have shown would see success is achieved.
In his response, the Sole Administrator, Mr. Nkechika Augustus, said the company was very important and strategic to the development of mining and steel in the country, as it provides Ajaokuta with the raw material it needs, saying focusing on reviving Ajaokuta Steel Complex without factoring in the operation of the National Iron Ore Mining Company “would not work”
He appealed to the Senate Committee to ensure all is done for the company to begin operation well ahead of Ajaokuta so as to sustain uninterrupted supply of iron ore.