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In reaction to TPE’s recent move to complete Ajaokuta Steel Company, Nigerian Society of Engineers at their recent conference in Kaduna, have identified problems militating against the realization of Nigeria’s full potential in the iron and steel development. These, according to N.S.E include, local politics, corruption and international conspiracy.
The immediate past Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Kaduna Branch, Engr. Abdul Audu, stated this at the 2015 public lecture of the society with a theme ”Iron And Steel Development In Nigeria, Issues, Challenges And Opportunities”.
Engr. Audu noted that successive Nigerian leaders did not possess the political will and technological focus to weather the storm, while the western powers were never sincere or faithful in their support for the development of iron and steel sector of the Nigerian economy.
He stated that having noticed the discouraging attitude of the West, Nigeria under the Tafawa Balewa government insisted on going ahead and turned to the East, represented by the USSR which later led to the construction of Ajaokuta Steel Company under the Shagari administration.
Engr. Audu who is a lecturer at Kaduna Polytechnic ,said the most devastating effect on the Ajaokuta Steel Plant was the cold war between the Western and Eastern blocs, adding that while the West were unwilling to support the project due to their economic interest, the East had the will, but was unhappy that Nigeria was politically pro-west.
Engr. Audu therefore advised the Federal Government to practicalise its intentions with strong commitment and political will by privatizing the steel plant or take it back under a public private partnership arrangement.
He said the government of the day under President Muhammadu Buhari has no option than to save Nigeria from the jaws of underdevelopment by fully developing the iron and steel sector of the nation’s economy.
The guest speaker and Director General, National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Engr. Alex Ohikere, said Nigeria was blessed with abundant mineral resources including sustainable raw materials for steel production in the country.
He said in order to be independent of the international market forces and politics of steel raw materials supplies, Nigeria must guarantee a cheap sustainable local source of raw materials through exploration, development and exploitation.
The Russian Embassy in Nigeria recently confirmed that the original builder of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Tvazhpromexport, TPE, is ready to re-engage in the rehabilitation of the multi-billion Dollar plant.
A statement from the embassy said an offer from the Russian TPE was submitted to the Nigerian government in December 2015 and in January 2016.
The Russian company said it is ready and willing to send a team of its professional experts to evaluate the state of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex in order to successfully revive the steel facility.
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Credit: Graphic and Kogireports.