Ajaokuta Is 90 Percent Complete, May Be Functional Early 2023 – Minister

 

The Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, on Monday, said the Ajeokuta Steel Mill is 90 percent complete and may be functional by early 2023. 

Adegbite made the remarks while making an appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

The development of the steel mill was started in the 1970s but has evaded completion several decades after.

The Minister, on Monday, said the current revitalisation plan for the steel mill was kick-started in October 2019, when a Nigerian delegation, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, attended the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, Russia.

In Sochi, President Buhari invited the Russians to help complete the steel mill on a Build-Operate-Transfer model, Adegbite said.

The Russians agreed and were set to arrive in Nigeria in March 2020, with the project to last for about two years.

However, the coronavirus pandemic threw a spanner into the wheels as the countries closed their borders to halt the virus and the Russians were unable to fly into Nigeria for an on-site audit.

Adegbite said once international borders are open, the process will resume and Ajaokuta may become operation between late 2022 and early 2023.

 

What the Minister Said?

“I came into office last year and the process to actually kickstart Ajaokuta this time around started in October last year. I was privileged to be with Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia. And, of course, on the sidelines of that summit, we had a bilateral (agreement) with the Russian government).

“And one of the things President Buhari presented as our requests, was for the Russians to come and help to complete Ajaokuta on a build-operate-transfer basis, so Ajaokuta will not be a burden to government again. And, of course, it was accepted.

“Don’t forget that Ajaokuta itself was built by the Russians and Ukrainians under the Soviet Union. So we’ve gone back to the original builder and said, look there’s just a little bit to complete this – some will tell you it was 95 percent completed, 90 percent, depending on what sector you are looking at. But Ajaokuta is advanced. Overall, if you look at the whole complex, it’s about 90 percent completed.

Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, made an appearance on Channels Television's Sunrise Daily on August 17, 2020.
Adegbite, made an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on August 17, 2020.

 

“So we said let the Russians come in, complete it, operate it for a while to recoup the money that’s going to be used to complete it and, of course make their profit, and transfer ownership back to Nigeria. That is the basis, on a government-to-government basis. And that was the proposal which we gave to the Russians and they accepted. And we are in that process.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed things down. We would have moved further than we are now. The plan was for the Russians – after the exchange of some papers and of course a few meetings (we had a meeting in Cairo) – the Russians were supposed to come down sometime in March to do what you call evaluation; that’s the technical audit of the complex itself. They need to look at the machinery, the complex, everything and say, look for us to kickstart this thing and bring it to a working condition, it’s going to cost x amount. That’s what the technical audit is all about. After negotiation of that bill that will be submitted, then the Russians will move in.

“The audit itself was supposed to take three months. If they had come in March, perhaps we would have had the engineers working on-site by now. Unfortunately because of the pandemic, this is August, they are yet to come for the audit. The audit has to be done physically.

“So we are looking at – as soon as the international border restrictions are lifted, they will come in and do the audit.

“The whole thing was supposed to take about two years, for them to complete and start operations. This, of course, has been delayed a little. So 2020 was not in the reckoning. If they had started in 2020, we would be looking at 2022. We are hoping that we can still be on track, fast track a few things and, of course, still be able to do maybe the last quarter of 2022 or early 2023 for Ajaokuta to come onstream.”

Buhari Flags Off Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline Project

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has formally flagged off the construction of the $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project, said to be the largest of its kind in the nation.

The President who performed the ceremony virtually from the State House on Tuesday, called on governors of states on the path of the pipeline route to create an enabling environment for the success of the project.

The AKK project is a section of the trans-Nigeria gas pipeline with a capacity to transport 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day and will be fed from the existing domestic gas infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai also flagged off the Kaduna end of the pipeline with a proclamation that the project will bring about rapid economic development in the northwest zone and the entire country.

El-Rufai was accompanied at the flag-off ceremony by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

Speaking during the ceremony at Rigachikun in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, the governor said the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano project, will add 3,600MW of electricity to the grid when completed and also supply industrial clusters with constant power.

Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline Construction To Begin Soon, Says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari with some world leaders at the 5th Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on November 29, 2019.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government will soon commence the construction of the 600-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline.

Addressing the 5th Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit on Friday in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, he noted that the project would ease the movement of gas from the Southern part of the country to the North.

The President disclosed that the viability of extending the gas pipeline to North Africa was also under consideration.

He described the theme of the Summit, ‘Natural Gas – Energy for Sustainable Development’ as most appropriate, saying the one-day meeting was “taking place at a critical juncture as global energy supply is transitioning from hydrocarbons to renewables.”

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The Energy Deficit

“The Paris Accord of 2015 signalled the first major global commitment to a deliberate effort on this inevitable transition,” President Buhari said, stressing that “Nigeria is proud to be one of the first signatories” to the historic agreement.

He further explained why Nigeria and GECF members were focusing on gas development.

“We are mindful of the energy deficit in the developing world especially, here in Africa where we have nearly 600 million people without access to modern energy,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

He added, “As responsible leaders, it is our duty to preserve the environment not only for the present but for future generations.

“We can achieve this balance between our energy deficit and environmental preservation needs by developing and deploying new technologies. Although classified as fossil fuel, natural gas is a viable solution to both our energy and environmental challenges.”

President Buhari noted further that “natural gas has the added advantage of availability and affordability,” stressing that, “to fully leverage this potential, nations need to pool resources to put up trans-border and trans-regional energy infrastructure.”

According to him, Nigeria has led the way by the construction of the West Africa Gas Pipeline which runs through four West African countries.

The President commended the foresight of the founding fathers of the GECF in promoting natural gas in the global energy mix.

The summit was declared open by the host and Equatorial Guinea’s President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

President Mbasogo, in his remarks, called on members of the GECF to continue to work in harmony towards the realisation of the objectives of the multinational organisation.

FG Has Resolved Legal Issues At Ajaokuta Steel Company – Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government has resolved all legal issues that have halted operations at the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

He made this known in Kogi State on Tuesday during the State Economic and Investment Summit in 2018.

Work seems to have been grounded in the national steel company that has gulped billions of naira by successive administrations since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999.

“We have now resolved the legal issues holding down work in Ajaokuta at the Ajaokuta steel complex, just as the Honourable Minister has said,” Professor Osinbajo told the audience at the summit.

He is of the view that Kogi plays a strategic role in the country for being the largest producer of cashew and also in rice production in the country.

The Vice President further commended the state governor, Mr Yahaya Bello, for bringing out a 30-year long-term development plan.

He reiterated the support of the Federal Government to the state as he highlights some of the state’s roles in the central region of the country.

“Our recognition of Kogi is not misplaced – your host to the biggest steel industry in Nigeria, the Ajaokuta Steel Company, and one of the largest cement factories in Africa, the Dangote Cement Company in Obajana, and also the highly prolific Jakura marble factory,” said Osinbajo.

In his earlier remarks, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, explained why people perceive work had been abandoned at the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

FG Appoints Sole Administrator For Ajaokuta Steel Complex

FG Appoints Sole Administrator For Ajaokuta Steel Complex
Abdul-Akaba Sumaila

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has announced the appointment of Mr Abdul-Akaba Sumaila, as the Acting Sole Administrator of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the special assistant on media to the minister, Olayinka Oyebode.

The new Sole Administrator replaces Mr Joseph Isah who retired from the civil service in September, having attained the mandatory 35 years in service.

Sumaila, a trained engineer and project manager, is a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.

He was until his appointment, a senior advisor, government relations with Shell Petroleum Development Company.

He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) from the University of Ilorin and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Business School Netherlands (BSN).

The statement says the appointment takes immediate effect.

Kogi Govt. Warns Those In Possession Of Illegal Arms To Surrender It

Yahaya-Bello-Governor-Kogi-StateThe Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has given seven days ultimatum to those in possession of fire arms and ammunition, in the central senatorial district of the state to surrender them to security agents or face the full wrath of the law.

Gov. Bello who gave the warning in Okene, the Headquarters of Central Senatorial District of Kogi state during a stakeholders meeting on the security challenges in the area, said the security and safety of Ebira land is pivotal to the security of the nation.

He also stressed that the geographical location of the district was enough for the government to take a decisive action in tackling insecurity in the area.

The insecurity challenges that as bedeviled the area which is made up of five Local Government Area is of top discussion.

The hall was filled to the capacity with the elder statesman, traditional ruler from various clan, National House of Assembly members, youths, top government functionaries all from Central Senatorial District are all in attendance.

Governor Bello, in his opening remark welcome the people to the town hall meeting, while he urged them to speak out their mind without fear, he said this will go a long way in saving the land from miscreant.

”Today we are here holding a town hall meeting with respect to security challenges not only in Kogi state,but in Central Senatorial District comprising of five local government, Okene, Okehi, Adavi, Ajaokuta and Ogori-mangogo.

”These senatorial areas are dominantly by Ebira people, If I am not mistaken we are 90 percent of Ebira people in these Senatorial Districts”.

The Governor had recently ordered the demolition of over 15 buildings in Okene that had been identifed as kidnappers den discovered with arms.

“This is the first time the people will come together to brain storm on  how to tackle the insecurity situation which has been a daily event since the creation of the state, while previous government paid no attention.

One of the elder statesman, Dr. Tom Adaba, who spoke to Channels Television  lamented over the incessant criminal activities in the area which had brought disgrace to the land, while he appealed to the Governor not to spear any one in his quest to rid the district of criminal element.

“The governor is making an attempt in wiping them out which is the best thing to do and having started, it is only right and proper that he gets to hear what the people think about it” Dr. Adaba lamented.

Also speaking, the Asema of Ezuka CLAN, Momoh Sani Isa, while thanking the governor for fighting crime in the area, he identified politicians as the problem, he said they formed the habit of arming thugs to unleash terror on their opponent.

“What almost destroyed the effort of the traditional ruler in tackling crime is dirty politics you know when the time come for politicians to campaign most of them don’t even regard the traditional rulers as people because they know, this people have no voice at the top and in an effort to get supporters they will not do what is right at whatever level, Isa added.

The Governor while speaking with newsmen warned politicians in the district who armed thugs to retrieve the weapons and hand them over to the nearest police station, to avoid being caught by the law.

Governor Bello also said there will be no sacred cow in the fight against criminality in the state.

Gunmen Kidnap Traditional Ruler, Naval Officer In Kogi

Ahmed-Aminu-AkwuThe traditional ruler of Elaite Community in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State, Mr Aminu Akuh, has been kidnapped.

Mr Akuh’s abduction is coming barely 24 hours after the kidnap of two judges in the state.

The traditional ruler of Elaite was said to have been abducted by some gunmen on Friday night at about 8:00pm local time while returning from Ajaokuta to his community.

10 million Naira Ransom

The abductors are said to have established contact with the family members, demanding for the sum of 10 million Naira as ransom.

In another development, an unidentified naval officer, who was passing through the state from the eastern part of Nigeria to Abuja, was abducted also on Friday at about 5:00pm local time.

A source from the police told Channels Television that his vehicle and other particles were found on Saturday by security operatives who ransacked the bushes within the state.

The search was led by the State Commissioner of Police.

Focusing Mainly On Oil Is Not Sustainable – Expert

israel aye on oilA Nigerian energy analyst has linked Nigeria’s plunging economy to so much dependency on crude oil for revenue.

He decried the shift from the nation’s former economy mainstay – agriculture – to crude oil and stressed the need for further diversification of the economy.

The country abandoned every other facet of development and focused exclusively on oil which is entirely not sustainable.

“We are here because we took what is potentially an advantage and turned it into a disadvantage.

“If we think about the trajectory of the Nigerian economy prior to the discovery of oil and how well we were doing, the economy was so robust and was doing so well – the Naira was equivalent to the Dollar as well as the Pound and was actually stronger than the Dollar,” Mr Israel Aye explained on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

Mr Aye further stressed that “what is sadder is that the potential of this economy to grow on the back of several other sources is enormous.

“The potential that exists in manufacturing, tourism, steel – Ajaokuta and Alaja is endless,” he said.

Answering a question on what Nigeria has not gotten right, the Director of Aspen Energy said that “Nigeria has yet again, a golden opportunity to achieve the diversification of her economy in the present crisis.

“It is the nature of commodities generally and it is what has happened in the oil industry from inception.

“This crisis has a potential to help us wake up to realise one critical factor that even oil prices at 200 Dollars will not generate enough revenue to grow the economy,” he maintained.

Suggesting a solution to the leakages in the Nigerian economy, the energy analyst said that “we need to as a matter of urgency, come together, sit down and look at a master plan for how we are going to grow this economy and then, develop the petroleum sector as a subset of that.

“I wish we pay a lot of attention to our human resources, their utilisation and come up with policies for people development to put people to work”.

Governorship Elections: Kogi, Bayelsa Decide

KogiIt’s Election Day in Bayelsa and Kogi State where voters are going to the polls to elect a new Governor.

Election materials have been fully distributed in different Local Governments Areas and the polling units have been set up.

In Kogi State, the supplementary election scheduled for today (Saturday) has commenced and voting materials have been distributed.

In Ajaokuta Local Government Area everywhere is peaceful and voters are going about to demonstrate their rights.

Meanwhile in Bayelsa State, election materials have been fully distributed in Brass Local Government Areas.

But reports say that Oporuma LGA Headquarters of Ijaw Local Government Area, an ex-militant reportedly opened fire at an election centre disrupting the exercise, one person was reportedly injured.

Elsewhere around the state, its being reported that polling units have been set up and there is a huge number of security operatives especially the Nigerian Police at the Local Government Headquarters.

The accreditation process has been smooth since it began few hours ago.

Kogi Youths Endorse Audu’s Son

kogiMany motorists and passengers were left stranded, after violence broke out in Itobe, Kogi State, north-central Nigeria, following a protest by some youth groups on Saturday.

The youths blocked the expressway with burning tyres, but were eventually dispersed by the Police who shot into the air to scare off the protesters.

The protesters were clamouring for the choice of Mohammed Audu as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the supplementary governorship election scheduled for December 5.

Mohammed Audu is the son of Prince Abubakar Audu, who was the candidate of the APC in the November 21 governorship election, but died just as the electoral umpire declared the poll inconclusive.

Prince Audu was leading in the election before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced its decision.

APC critical stakeholders and delegates from Kogi East Senatorial District had resolved that the late political icon and APC candidate in the November 22 governorship election that was pronounced to be inconclusive, Mr Abubakar Audu, be substituted with his son Mohammed Audu in the event that the party settles for a fresh primary.

However, the running mate to the late Audu, Mr James Faleke, had formally asked INEC to declare him winner of the election and name him governor-elect.

Mr Faleke based his claim to the governorship in two letters to INEC and the APC, on the fact that he had become governor-elect in the face of what he described as the unfortunate death of Audu.

Kogi Police Repel Attacks On Adogo Police Station

Kogi PoliceAt about 9PM on Sunday September 22, 2014, unknown gunmen unleashed a heavy attack on Adogo Police Station, in the Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State.

According to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, the attack from different directions of Okene, Ajaokuta, and one other route, was apparently targeted at carting away Police arms.

The Policemen on duty, swiftly took positions and returned fire. The heavy dynamite launched by the attackers, demolished and set fire on part of the station.

The desire of the hoodlums to cart away arms, was aborted, as the Police successfully evacuated the arms from the station, to safety,” the statement read.

The statement further stated that no human casualty was recorded on the part of the Kogi Police personnel while some of the hoodlums escaped with bullet wounds.

However, the area has been reinforced while frantic efforts are ongoing to track-down the fleeing hoodlums.

The Kogi Police Command has appealed to members of the public, to report anybody seen with bullet wound of any sort to the nearby Police Station or other security agencies.

Kogi Police Parades Armed Robbers, Father Who Sleeps With His Daughters

The Kogi state police command has arrested armed robbers suspected to have been part of a robbery which took place in Ajaokuta last month as well as a 53 year old man accused of sleeping with two of his daughters.

The acting Kogi state commissioner of police, Mr Austin Evbakhavbokun recently paraded six robbery suspects and a 53 year old father who was having sexual relations with his two daughters.

During a press briefing, in Lokoja, Evbakhavbokun told journalists that at about 6:45pm on Friday, a gang of armed robbers attacked a First Bank branch situated in Ajaokuta, blew off the electronic entrance security door with the improvised explosive devise (IED) but were faced by his ambush squad who killed two of the robbers.

One of the police officers lost his life.

The names of two of the armed robbers caught are Abdullahi Jimoh and Ahmed Rufai who hail from Okene.

Evbakhavbokun also paraded Unisa Kadiri who snatched a car with his gang from Mrs Pricilia in Idah.

A 53 year old father, Mr Alabi Yusuf, was paraded on the account of his sexual relationship with two of his daughters.

Mr Alabi said he had been sleeping with his two daughters to give them a better life.

Alabi, who was accused of hypnotising his daughters with drugs as well as inciting them by showing them pornographic films before sleeping with them, alleged that he met no resistance from his daughters.

Although, Mr Alabi is in police custody, his wife and daughters told Channels Television that the matter should be settled at home as “it is a family issue”.

They also said that they are doing everything possible to get the law enforcement agency to drop the case.