Ajaokuta will come to fruition before end of Buhari’s govt ― Minister

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has expressed optimism that the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Mill will come to fruition before the expiration of the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adegbite expressed this optimism during a courtesy visit to Tribune house, Ibadan, on Thursday. He hinged this optimism on an agreement that the Nigerian government reached with the Russian government in October last year with timelines to complete the resuscitation of the steel mill.

Though he decried that COVID-19 had slowed the process to include the completion of the technical audit and movement of contractors to site, Adegbite said the good intention of the Buhari government will make the project materialize.

“I believe there is providence in everything. I am convinced in my mind that we are doing the right thing and Ajaokuta will come to fruition before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

“There are challenges. When we were in Russia in October last year, nobody thought of pandemic. The Russians were  supposed to come in March and were expected to complete the technical audit in June. The contractors will have been on site now they should have been on site now. COVID-19 is a challenge and we have lost time.

“Almost the whole of this year has been lost and that audit has not been done. But, because we have sincerity of purpose of what we want to do, and with God on our side, I believe it will be done. It is something that is for the good of the country with no ulterior motive and we are still hoping in God that we will be able to achieve it, because of what it portends for the country.

“We were looking at end of 2022 when we were discussing in October last year but the whole of this year is gone. Nobody knew that something that will paralyse the whole world like this pandemic will come. We will have had the bill, how much it will cost and they will have moved to the site but we are still hoping in God that we will be able to achieve it.

“Ajaokuta portends a good omen. If we are able to start it, producing liquid steel, then, we can catapult ourselves into that industrial area. We can now say Nigeria is an industrial nation because now we can make anything we want to make,” Adegbite said.

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Making his remarks, Managing Director/Editor-in-chief, Nigerian Tribune, Mr Edward Dickson, charged the Federal Government to be clear and convincing in communicating policies of government to Nigerians.

Over the years, he decried that inability of the country to galvanise the mines and steel sector to live up to expectations of Nigerians and boosting the Gross Domestic Product of the nation’s economy.

Other members of the management staff of Tribune that received the Minister include, Editor, Nigerian Tribune, Mr Debo Abdulai; Editor, Sunday Tribune, Mr Sina Oladeinde; Editor, Saturday Tribune, Dr Lasisi Olagunju; Group Business Editor, Mr Sulaimon Olanrewaju.


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