We Are Praying Ajaokuta Steel Company Starts Production By 2022, Says Adegbite

Reps Ask FG To Terminate Reconcession Deal On Ajaokuta Steel Company
A file photo of Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State

 

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that with the progress made during the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, the Federal Government is praying that production in Ajaokuta Steel company should begin within the next two or three years.

President Muhammadu Buhari in October, met with President Vladimir Putin during the summit to discuss opportunities in exploring and expanding security, trade and investment, science and technology, and gas production.

The highlights of the meeting include putting Nigeria-Russia relations on a fast track and pursue the completion of partially completed and abandoned projects initiated by both countries.

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Mr Adegbite who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today gave more insight on the outcome of the meeting and what the mid-term expectations are about the Ajaokuta steel company located in Kogi state, which has gulped billions of naira by successive administrations since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999.

The Minister explained that the Federal Government is looking at exploring the potentials of the mines and steel sector in its diversification drive, owing to what it can offer the country if properly harnessed.

He added that government in the past had adopted different methods, including the private and commercial sector to complete and ensure it produces steel, but all attempts have been futile.

“Government had tried in the past since Ajaokuta was completed to make sure that it produces steel; we tried with the private and commercial sector, but it never worked.

“We have tried using the private sector to kick-start Ajaokuta but it never worked, so we decided to go back to the original builders of Ajaokuta which was built by the Soviet Union in those days, particularly between Russian Federation and Ukraine, which is the request the President made to President Putin in Russia and he agreed on this government to government relationship to bring Ajaokuta back on stream.”

On the issue of funding, he revealed that support will be gotten from both the Russian Export Centre and the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM Bank), while adding that both governments are still studying the draft Memorandum of Understanding, with the hope that concrete steps will be taken afterward.

“We are at that point where both sides are understudying the draft MoU and we are hoping that before the end of the year or early January, we will be able to sign this MoU.

“Once that is done, it would kick-start the proper agreement with a Russian company, nominated by the Russian Government coming over to complete the works in Ajaokuta and we are praying that within the next two years or three, Ajaokuta should be able to produce,” he stated.

Mr. Adegbite added that the multibillion-dollar Ajaokuta Steel Mill, the largest in Nigeria, has a great chance and the agreement with the Russian government will make it work.

Ajaokuta steel construction started in 1979 by the Soviet Union under a corporation agreement with the Federal Government. The project reached 98 percent completion but is yet to produce a single sheet of steel to date.

In April, President Buhari rejected assent to a bill, Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund passed by the eight National Assembly headed by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

He explained that appropriating $1 billion from Excess Crude Account for funding the project as stipulated in the bill was not the best strategic option for Nigeria and such amount cannot be deployed, owing to the priorities given to other socioeconomic projects.

Buhari Rejects Ajaokuta Steel Company Bill, Seven Others

Buhari Rejects Ajaokuta Steel Company Bill, Seven Others

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to eight bills passed by the National Assembly.

The President communicated his decision to decline assent to the bills in letters written to the Senate and read on the floor on Tuesday by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

The bills rejected are the Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund, Nigerian Aeronautical Search and Rescue, Chartered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment), and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

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Others are National Housing Fund Bill, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bill, National Institute of Credit Administration Bill, as well as Chartered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill.

In the letter rejecting the Ajaokuta Company Completion Fund Bill, President Buhari explained that appropriating $1 billion from Excess Crude Account for funding the project as stipulated in the bill was not the best strategic option for Nigeria at this time of budgetary constraints.

He stressed that Nigeria cannot afford to commit such an amount in the midst of competing priorities with long term social and economic impact that the funds can be attentively deployed towards.

President Buhari also explained why he decline assent to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Bill.

According to him, this is because the agency will have similar objectives with the Bank of industry, particularly with regard to the funding of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Reps Ask FG To Terminate Reconcession Deal On Ajaokuta Steel Company

Reps Ask FG To Terminate Reconcession Deal On Ajaokuta Steel Company
A file photo of Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State.

 

The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to terminate its reconcession agreement with Global Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd. (GINL) on the Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State.

The lawmakers made the call during Thursday’s plenary after adopting the report of the House ad-hoc committee set up to probe the failure of the steel company.

They asked the government to take a cue from the United States and demonstrate a strong political will to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Integrated Steel plant by direct sourcing.

The House called for the disbursement of about $2billion needed to revamp and complete the two per cent external aspects of the integrated project.

According to the report adopted, this include revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company and the National Iron Ore Manufacturing Company, Itakpe; as well as completing the various external rail track system and access roads linkages.

The development and optimal functioning of the various mining sites for steady supply of raw materials to guarantee an uninterrupted steel production when the blast furnace would be started are also part of the project.

The report recommended that the government should, as a matter of national interest and security, annul the reconcession agreement of August 1, 2016, with GINL, as there was an alleged extant Federal Government indictment against the company.

It also asked the government to cease from any further thought of concessioning or reconcessioning of the Nigerian Steel Companies as the nation has local capable hands that can manage the integrated plants when properly funded.

Other recommendations in the report include, “That the Federal Government should revive relations with the original builders of the company (TPE of Russia) towards wooing them back to continue and complete the good work they started alongside the current management team of indigenous sole administrators who have shown expertise and practical knowledge in the integrated steel plants management and production.”

“That since it is known that most of the Abacha loot was gotten from the debt by back deal involving Ajaokuta, then the recovered loots which are still flowing into Nigeria should be used to supplement the funding of the completion of the Ajaokuta integrated steel plant.”

The lawmakers also asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to heed the directive of late President Umar Yar’Adua in 2008, to prosecute the alleged collaborators of GNLD as “economic saboteurs”.

They stated that the company and all indicted local collaborators must be made to pay damages to the host communities that suffered the loss of lives when the company allegedly used brutal force against the workers who tried to stop it from allegedly vandalising the assets of the concessioned plants.

The House resolved that accelerated legislative work must be done by both chambers of the National Assembly to ensure that both the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the National Iron Ore Manufacturing Company, Itakpe, were removed from the privatisation list.

Buhari Urges Northern Leaders To Emulate Ahmadu Bello

Ahmadu belloPresident Muhammadu Buhari has urged leaders at all levels to emulate the incorruptible qualities of the late premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello.                                             

President Buhari gave the advice on Thursday in Kaduna during the 50th memorial anniversary of the death of the late Ahmadu Bello who was killed on January 15, 1966.

The President, who was represented by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, expressed sadness that the brutal assassination of the late premier and other nationalists during a military coup in 1966, brought the region and the nation backward.

He called on the present crop of leaders to emulate the selfless leadership qualities of late Sir Ahmadu Bello by providing the people they are leading with basic infrastructure and fostering peace and unity in the region.

Other Speakers at the event lamented the absence of committed northern progressive leaders who can fit into the shoes of late Sir Ahmadu Bello and provide good governance to the people in the manner he did during his time.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, reminded the northern leaders of the enormous challenges confronting the region and the need for them to find lasting solutions to the challenges rather than hiding under the legacies left behind by late Ahmadu Bello.

He urged northern governors to address the problem of poverty and unemployment that are ravaging the region. The Sultan specifically tasked them to work towards the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State as part of efforts to create employment for the youths.

January 15, 1966 was a day that the late premier of Northern Nigeria and the Sarduanan of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello was brutally killed by some young military officers in what was described as the first bloody coup in the history of the nation, led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu.

The coup also claimed the lives of the late Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Tafawa Balewa, and some other prominent leaders across the country.

Ahmadu Bello’s many political accomplishments include establishing the Ahmadu Bello University, Northern Nigeria Development Corporation (NNDC), the Bank of the North, the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) and the New Nigerian Newspapers among other projects.

The North was less developed economically than the South, and Bello argued that it was necessary for the North to catch up with the South for the sake of national unity.

He travelled constantly across the North, meeting people and listening to their concerns.

Mines Ministry Creates 1.2 Million Jobs, Discovers New Minerals

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Sada

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada has stated that the ministry has facilitated the production of over six million tonnes of mineral products in the country thereby, creating over a million jobs.

Speaking at the ongoing ministerial platform, Mr. Sada revealed that 1.254 million jobs were created from operations in 1710 quarries, 223 small scale mining operations, 195 mining leases and 2048 exploration licenses.

He stressed the need for professionalism in the industry and listed Ajaokuta Steel Company as one of the companies suffering effects of ‘unprofessionalism’ in the country.

According to the Minister, issues in the company range from infrastructural challenges to privatization, legal issues to change of management and even technical competency.

He noted that ministry is encouraging group mining activities which he claim will help curb illegal mining in rural area, adding that the ministry has commenced education of people living in communities where illegal mining thrives so as to check the menace of illegal mining.

Mr Sada said the education involves informing them to come together to do things in a better way rather than going solo. He also advised that such communities must get legal advice before indulging into community development that involves exploration or mining activities.

Discovery

The minister stated that 11 additional minerals have been discovered in the country in the last one year bringing the number of minerals in the county to a total of 44.

He expressed the need for dissemination of information through the right sources to the right people that will get involved in wealth creation mostly from industrial mineral.

On the ministry’s initiative to clean up dormant mining titles in a “Use it or Lose it” exercise, Mr. Sada said over 10,000 dormant and inactive titles were mopped up into active and productive mineral rights while all non-performing titles were revoked; thus increasing revenue generation and activities by mineral titles owners.

“80 per cent of over 10,000 mineral licenses are held in drawers by people who don’t need it and are not using it; people who have the rights are really not interested in developing mineral while people who are interested are out there looking for these rights.” Mr. Sada said

 

JUNE 12: 20 YEARS AFTER                  [WED] 12/06/13

ANN CAM:

TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY, NIGERIA RECORDED A WATERSHED IN ITS ELECTORAL PATH AS NIGERIANS FROM ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY THREW RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC INTOLERANCE OVERBOARD AND TROOPED OUT ENMASS TO VOTE THE NOW LATE MOSHOOD KASHIMAWO ABIOLA.

 

CONTESTING ON THE PLATFORM OF THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THE LATE ABIOLA BEAT HIS NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONVENTION CHALLENGER, BASHIR TOFA WITH 2.25 MILLION VOTES IN A KEENLY CONTESTED RACE.

 

ALTHOUGH THE RESULT OF THAT ELECTION WAS ANNULLED BY THE REGIME OF GENERAL IBRAHIM BABANGIDA, THE JUNE 12, 1999 ELECTION THEREAFTER BECAME A MARKER IN NIGERIA’S ELECTORAL HISTORY, ADJUDGED TO BE “THE FREEST AND FAIREST ELECTION IN THE COUNTRY”.

 

TODAY, RALLIES WILL BE HELD IN MOST SOUTH WEST STATES EVEN AS STAKEHOLDERS CONTINUE TO EULOGISE THE LATE BUSINESS MOGUL.