By Good Nigerian
- Ajaokuta Company was founded in 1979 by Olusegun Obasanjo. But the foundation laying of the project was done by president Shehu Shagari in 1980 and within four years, it attained 84% completion. That’s a 37-year project that’s yet to be completed.
- It is located in Ajaokuta, Kogi state on 24,000 hectares of landmass and built on 800 hectares of land. So massive!
It was tagged “the bedrock of Nigeria industrialisation.” No wonder, we have not
been able to find our feet in that aspect without its functionality.
It was to employ 10,000 staff directly at the first phase of commissioning, the upstream and downstream industries that would evolve all over the nation will engage not less than 500,000 employees when fully operational. That sounds more engaging than even the telecommunication industry.
The steel company was expected to be the largest in Africa. That would have placed us as a giant of Africa, not only by size.
The plant by 1994 was reckoned to be at 98% completion in terms of equipment erected. Some completed units of the plant operated at different times but had to shut down due to non-availability of the fund.
The federal government stopped funding the steel company since 1994, thus, it still remains at 98% completion. Battling with 2% for 23 years sounds jinxed.
It will cost $400 million to complete Ajaokuta Steel Company. That should be chicken feed compared to its anticipated benefits.
It is estimated that the current state of Ajaokuta Steel Company is worth over $5 billion. Whooping!
Ajaokuta Steel Company was earlier sold under the privatization programme of president Olusegun Obasanjo to Global Steel Holding Limited. But following the allegation of downsizing, asset-stripping and shutting down of the company, the federal government successfully regained total control of the steel company during
president Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.
11.TyazhPromoExport (TPE), the Russian company that designed and built Ajaokuta Steel
Company Limited up to 98% completion had completed over 40 world class mines, steel and mineral processing plants spread across the world and functioning to full capacity except for ASCL. What is it with Nigeria?
- As the current Sole Administrator of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Engr. Idah Joseph
Onobere, once said, “….there are some orchestrated campaigns of calumny against
the Nigerian state aimed at ensuring that we remain perpetually a dumping ground
for steel products from developed countries.” Every indication sure points to that assertion.
Trillions of naira are said to be spent annually importing steel. The proposed Mambilla hydropower project alone is estimated that it will consume 2.7million
metric tonnes of steel. Imagine ASCL working at full capacity, that will be saving a lot of foreign exchange.
As experts say, Ajaokuta Steel Company is enough for Nigeria to produce her own car.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the minister of solid mineral development once said that there
are legal issues surrounding Ajaokuta Steel Company that need to be cleared. We hope this is cleared soonest. Since we currently have a president who is in the business of reawakening forgotten important projects in Nigeria, as we have seen in the case of mambilla hydro power project, we hope and pray president Muhammudu
Buhari channels all effort to ensure that Ajaokuta Steel Company work accordingly especially now that the clamour for diversification is at its peak.
If everyone that reads this can afford to share it, perhaps it will get to the authority and remind them once again that the biggest Nigeria project (and treasure) thus far, is still sleeping.