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.

Ogun Govt. Begins Road Construction In Abeokuta

The Ogun State Government has commenced the construction of a 7.5km six-lane dual carriage, Ogun Standard Road, along the Enugada-Adatan-Ajitadun-Mokola-Ake axis in Abeokuta.

The State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, assured residents that the project and other ongoing projects across the state would be completed in record time.

While monitoring a demolition exercise to pave way for the road, Governor Amosun reaffirmed that his administration will not abandon any project.

He promised that more developmental projects that will be of immense benefit to Ogun citizens would be constructed before the end of his tenure.

The Deputy Governor, Yetunde Onanuga, also thanked the people for their cooperation, saying there was no resistance of any kind against the demolition.

According to her, it was an indication that the people appreciate the development government is bringing to the area.

On his part, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Olamilekan Adegbite, said the State Government is paying a total of eight billion Naira as compensation for the houses affected by the demolition exercise.

Adegbite, who revealed that about two billion Naira had already been disbursed, added that apart from payment of compensation, the State Government is also providing temporary relocation support for the aged and physically challenged affected by the demolition exercise.

Some of the residents who spoke to reporters, Mr Sina Akinpelu and Mrs Monsurat Akinbile, expressed satisfaction with the development.

They urged the State Government to fast track the compensation plan, as well as ensure timely completion of the project as promised.

Ogun Government Modernises Old Markets

AmosunThe Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun has taken started modernising old markets in Abeokuta, the state’s capital, as part of the urban renewal efforts of the government and one of the five cardinal points of his administration.

In Ogun State, southwest Nigeria, old, unplanned markets and ‎residents are some of the structures that have been affected by road construction in recent times.

According to the report ,the modernisation of urban cities and the urbanisation of rural ones often come with its own challenges‎ like the acquisition of rights of way and the compensation of affected residents.

‎New stalls and blocks of flats to accommodate the displaced are currently nearing completion in Shapon, Itoku and Omida, and the Ogun State Governor,  Ibikunle Amosun tours some of the sites to ensure timely delivery.

The modern market in Ogun State, Shapon area of the capital has 140 lock up stalls ‎and extra space to cater to the needs of petty traders at Omida. It is a bigger structure and work is on going.

For now the traders have their wares displayed and sold on sidewalks but they can’t wait to move into the malls.

The commissioner for works and infrastructure, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, said that the new markets were built to ensure that business activities were not halt by development activities going on in the state.

When eventually put to use, the new markets will provide decent business environment to traders in the state and also enhance the beauty of the environment.