THE Senate Committee on Solid Mineral, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy said their visit to Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex in Kogi State was borne out of the desire of the senate to support the diversification of the nation’s economy through investment in solid mineral, agriculture and steel development by the Federal Government.
The Senate leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya who dropped the hint on Friday during an oversight working visit to the complex with other members of the committee noted that the visit was to assess the current status of the steel plant.
The Senate Committee on Mines and Steel Development commended the management and staff of the Ajaokuta Steel Company for their dexterity, commitment and selfless service in ensuring that the giant steel industry in Africa remained intact and safe from vandalization even after almost four decades of abandonment.
Senator Abdullahi Yahaya described the abandonment of the steel industry for almost 40 years as a monumental waste, lamenting that the neglect of the industry has actually set the country backwards in the area of attaining the industrialisation the country had been craving for.
The Senate Leader and the committee who were conducted round all the components of the steel plant attested to the fact that 95 per cent of the work on the ground is satisfactorily ready for the resuscitation plan of the Buhari administration.
He appreciated and commended the staff and the management of the steel plant for their collective commitment that has kept the plant intact for many years of total abandonment.
“We have seen the components of Ajaokuta Steel Company for ourselves. We are happy and glad to say that at least 95 per cent of the work done is still in good shape ready for completion.
“For almost 40 years of neglect, the buildings, the structures and the equipment are still solid as if it was just yesterday the steel plant was erected. We have every cause to thank the management and staff of the industry for their commitment that kept this place to the status we have witnessed today.
“This feat couldn’t have been achieved without the dexterity and diligence of the staff of this steel plant. On our part as lawmakers whatever it will take to revamp this plant we will not waste time in doing so because the National Assembly is 100 per cent in support of revitalisation and commissioning of Ajaokuta Steel Industry and Itakpe Iron Ore,” he noted.
The Minister of Solid Mineral, Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, in his remarks, lamented that whoever visited Ajaokuta Steel Company for the first time would begin to wonder why Nigerian government would allow this money-spinning giant industry to waste.
“Everything has its own time and I am sure this is the right time to put this steel plant in operation and with the support of God the President and the National Assembly we will get it right this time.”
Earlier, the Sole Administrator of the steel plant, Sumaila Abdul-Akaba in his overview of Ajaokuta Steel Company, said the concept of engineering is universal and the technological application cannot change but can be improved upon for efficiency.
He bemoaned the claims that Ajaokuta steel plant is obsolete, saying the steel plant was established via blast furnace that is still the best technology the world over till date.
“The steel plant in Ajaokuta is a brand-new plant. Therefore, the issue of obsolesces does not exist. The technology of the steel plant is basically blast furnace and the major steel productions as at today all over the world uses this technology of blast furnace because it is simple. It can use low-quality iron ore and highly efficient,” he added.
The sole administrator commended the Senate for delegating its leadership to visit the steel plant with a view to having first-hand information about the status of the industry.
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