Showing posts with label Industrialisation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Industrialisation. Show all posts

July 5, 2018

Reps Member to FG: Use Abacha Loot to Revive Ajaokuta Steel Company



A lawmaker in the House of Representatives, Mr Hassan Saleh (APC, Benue) has urged the Federal Government against plans to disburse $322 million Abacha loot sent by the Swiss government to vulnerable households in 19 states.

Saleh who spoke sequel to a motion raised by Mr Karimi Sunday (PDP, Kogi) advised the government to rather use the money to revive the Ajaokuta Steel company.

He said the plant will generate millions of jobs for Nigerians.

Speaking earlier, Mr Sunday  frowned at the alleged decision to disburse the money to vulnerable in 19 states of the federation, stressing that the 1999 constitution empowers the legislature to determine how public money should be utilized.

According to him, the Swiss government and the Executive arm cannot decide for Nigeria on how the funds should be used.

The debate continued as members like Mr. Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abia), Mr. Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) separately noted that the use of such money to feed the poor goes contrary to the Parliament’s power of appropriation.

“The National Assembly should wake up and come up with a program that will decide how the Abacha loot be spent”, Mr. Ossai said.

Following further debate, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara put up a voice vote on the matter and the ‘ayes’ had it.

The adhoc committee is expected to report its findings to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.
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June 5, 2018

Imagine: FG Has No Money to Complete Ajaokuta Steel Company – Minister

Members of the House of Representatives and the Minister of State for Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Abubakar Bwari, disagreed on Monday over the fate of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.

This happened as an ad hoc committee of the House chaired by the Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, opened a public hearing on the troubled steel plant.

The House is against the Federal Government’s plan to give the plant to private investor as a concession and had a running battle with the former Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on the issue.

In March, the House speedily passed two bills in a bid to stop the concession, advising the government to instead complete the plant as a going public asset.

The two bills, sponsored by 301 lawmakers, were, ‘A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund for the Speedy Completion of the Project; and for Related Matters’ and ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act, Cap. P38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Review the List of Enterprises to be Privatised; and for Related Matters’.

But, on Monday, Bwari appeared before the Gbajabiamila committee to defend the government’s decision to give out the plant as a concession.

He said that the government could not complete the plant because it could not afford the cost.

The minister stated, “With concession, the government will not put more money, but will appoint a reputable transaction adviser to move forward. Right now, the government does not have the funds. It is important that we hand it over to those who have the resources.

“The government is even borrowing to run services. That is to tell you that there is no money.”

Bwari added that it would cost the government far above the $500m being reported as the amount required to complete the plant and run it.

He explained that the reported 98 per cent completion frequently quoted had to do with the plant only and did not cover external and pending internal works to be done before production would start.

But, members disagreed with him, saying the problem of the steel firm was the lack of political will by successive governments to complete it.

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May 29, 2018

'Ajaokuta Steel Company Won't Work, Unless Our Angry Ancestor is Appeased'- Host Community

Communities which own the land on which Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO) is built say the firm cannot take off unless their angry ancestor, egbunu akoko”, is pacified.

The community leaders of Geregu and Ajaokuta, the host  communities in Kogi, expressed the view in interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The Chairman, Geregu Community Association, Alhaji Idris Aliyu, attributed the non-completion of ASCO project to mystical forces arising from the neglect of the communities.

Aliyu said the ancestors were not happy over the level of neglect of the communities by the Federal Government and the operators of ASCO.

“It is not the communities that are preventing the work from being completed, it is the ancestors.

“There is a lady that had a dream two years ago and said she saw one of our ancestors, “egbunu akoko’’.

“Egbunu akoko told her that if the government wants ASCO to be completed, they should go and resettle his people in  Geregu and Ajaokuta .

“My advice is that, let them come back and fulfil most of the promises they made. They should fix our roads and repair the schools.

“Also, the Egbunu Akoko’s house they demolished should be rebuilt.

“Really, our ancestors are not happy over what is happening. The agreement we reached with ASCO when they acquired our lands since 1976 has not been implemented.

“All the promises they made they did not fulfil.

“As you were coming, you saw our road just about two kilometres from the steel plant to Geregu, you saw how rough it is and that is why you used motorbike to get to our palace.

“We have been neglected but we are praying that work should continue in the company, may be they will look into the promises they made to these two communities,” he said.

The community leaders also claimed that the government and administrators of ASCO reneged on the initial agreement of providing employment and development in the communities.

At the Palace of Etsu of Geregu, Mr Suleiman Idris, on behalf of Etsu Haruna Aminu, said the communities had been left to their fate after the takeover of their land.

He said Ajaokuta community had eight families and Geregu had five families who surrendered their land to the Federal Government for the building of the company.

The Etsu said that the government, upon taking over the land promised to compensate the people and provide them basic amenities but that had not happened.

“Since the construction of ASCO, we have been left behind, nothing has been done for the communities.

“You can see the palace of the Etsu compared to other palaces. It is in a deplorable state.

“No employment for our youths. Most of them are graduates and they are at home because they are not being given priority in terms of employment.

“Also, there are no infrastructure and social development provided by the company for the communities,” he said.

The monarch said part of the land from Ajaokuta was used for the construction of the industrial component of ASCO, while Geregu community provided land for the development of residences.

He said the development of residential houses and the industrial structures on the land had denied the people access to land for farming and other communal activities.

“When you check the environment, everywhere is occupied by private houses and no chance is given to us for our own communal use.

“The Federal Government promised to compensate us but nothing was done.

“Some years ago, the communities and the company went to court. At the end, the High Court in Lokoja said it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case and struck out the case.

“As you can see, there is no physical or social development provided for us by the company,” he said.

Onu of Ajaokuta, Alhaji Kassim Ibrahim, stressed the need for the Federal Government to give recognition to the communities by resettling them and providing them amenities as promised.

According to him, the communities have cooperated with the Federal Government by handing over their lands.

However, Mr Babajide Suru, the General Manager, Engineering Works and Services Department of the company,  described the position of the communities as superstitious.

Suru said such belief held by the people was no longer tenable in a civilised world.

Meanwhile, the Sole Administrator of the company, Mr Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, said the issue of compensation and resettlement of the people would be addressed when the firm became fully functional.

NAN found that the access road to Ajaokuta community is in a deplorable state and the community lacks a modern health facility resulting in the people travelling more than five kilometres to  Geregu for medical care.

The plant, conceived in 1976, was aimed at establishing a metallurgical process plant/engineering complex with other facilities.

It is on 24,000 hectares of land in Ajaokuta,  38km from Lokoja.

The company is meant to generate important upstream and downstream industrial and economic activities that are critical to the industrialisation of Nigeria.

The plant, tagged “Bedrock of Nigeria’s Industrialisation’’, is also designed to produce iron and liquid steel from mines at Itakpe, in Kogi, some 52km from Ajaokuta.

The project has achieved over 90 per cent completion.

NAN
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February 23, 2018

Dangote To Build Sugar Plants In Kogi, 5 Other States

Dangote To Build Sugar Plants In Kogi, 5 Other States

Nigeria’s Dangote Group has signed a deal to commence the building of integrated sugar plants in six states in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the group, who is also Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, made the announcement at a forum in Lagos to honour major distributors of Dangote Foods in Lagos on Thursday.
He said that the plants, expected to generate up to 100,000 jobs, would be built in Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kwara and Niger States.
He, however, did not state the cost implication of building the plants or the name of the company handling the projects.
“We are acquiring about 150,000 hectares for sugar plantations in Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kwara and Niger.
“We have designed a memorandum of understanding with the Nasarawa State Government for the construction of the sugar complex at Tunga,’’ he stated.
Dangote said that the company’s push for backward integration in providing raw materials on a large scale would result to a cumulative investment of 4.6 billion dollars in the next three years in sugar, rice and diary production.
According to him, the plants will help to eliminate Nigeria’s reliance on imported materials and also help to save foreign exchange.
He re-stated that the group had earmarked 12 billion dollars for the building of a refinery at Ibeju-Lekki, near Lagos, to resolve Nigeria’s persistent petroleum scarcity crisis.
The mogul disclosed that the company’s annual revenue exceeded 4.1 billion dollars in 2017, expressing the determination of the group to exploit the huge business potential in Nigeria.
He commended the award recipients, saying that the event was a moment to appreciate customers’ efforts in making Dangote food products a household name in Nigeria.
Dangote said that the group would sustain its leading position in the food sector, noting that Dangote Flour Mills, its Sugar Refinery and NASCON Allied Industries had remained pacesetters.
He said that the target of the group was to ensure that Nigeria became self-sufficient in food.
According to him, the group focuses on a three-point agenda of sustaining high product quality, improving customers’ engagement and strengthening supply chain capabilities.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent at the event reports that a distributor from the North West, Alhaji Ali Balarabe, emerged overall winner in the sale of Dangote products.
Awards were presented in various categories to recipients from first to third positions in the sale of flour, sugar, salt, pasta and Dan-Q.
The award category was given to the Best Performing Customer in the South West, North West, North Central, North East, South West, South East, North West and Lagos.
No fewer than 30 people won awards in various categories.
(NAN)
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January 31, 2018

Ajaokuta Iron, Steel May Not Work Anytime Soon – Minister

Minister of Solid Minerals, Mines and Steel, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has explained that Ajaokuta Iron and Steel situated in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria, may not work anytime soon contrary to expectations of Nigerians.

He stated this during the joint budget defense of the Senate and House of Representatives on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy in Abuja.

Fayemi who appeared with heads of Parastatals under his ministry noted that the current administration has made tremendous achievements in repositioning mines and Steel sector, but regretted that Ajaokuta was still bound by legal hiccups.

While answering questions on the specific time the Ajaokuta would work, he said: “Distinguished, I cannot answer this question with precision until the London Court of Arbitration has fully discharged the case out of court.”

The Minister also said the Federal government has sought out of court settlement between it and the concessionaire, saying it was been withdrawn gradually.

He regretted that for legal reasons, about 110 megawatts electricity which was capable of electrifying the entire Kogi State was unutilised.

Member of the Committee, Senator Sabi Abdullahi expressed discontent with the budget performance of the ministry for 2017, saying, the release of capital Budget was delayed.

Credits: DailyPost 
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December 1, 2017

Ajaokuta Steel Company to Create 500,000 Jobs - FG

Ajaokuta Steel Company to Create 500,000 Jobs - FG

Image result for Ajaokuta Steel Company
The first phase of Ajaokuta Steel Company will provide 500,000 upstream and downstream jobs when operational, the Federal Government has said.

The company’s Sole Administrator, Mr. Isah Onobere, made this known during a media tour of the company, last week.

Onobere said the first phase of the plant would also provide direct employment for 10,000 technical staff.

He also said the first phase had been completed, adding that it was envisaged to produce 1.3 million tonnes of liquid steel yearly.

Onobere said it would cost $400 million to complete Ajaokuta Steel, which had reached 98 per cent completion.

According to him, $2 billion is needed for infrastructure rehabilitation and operational cost.

Onobere said the government had begun to commit resources toward the maintenance and preservation of the plant’s equipment and facilities. He, therefore, called for improved efforts.

According to him, the government is considering various options on the way forward for the project’s completion, which includes outright sale, concession and joint venture.

He, however, denied rumours that the company’s equipment were obsolete, adding that the company can stand the test of time as all its equipment are functioning appropriately.
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August 14, 2017

Chinese Banks to Commit $250m to NNPC’s Ajaokuta-Kano Gas Line

Chinese Banks to Commit $250m to NNPC’s Ajaokuta-Kano Gas Line

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Saturday disclosed that its Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project, often called the AKK Pipeline Project, would receive a funding boost worth $250 million from Chinese banks.
The corporation also explained that the gas line which would cost it $2.7 billion to execute had achieved a lot of milestones in its contracting process.
NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated these in a statement from the Group General Manager Public Affairs Division of the corporation, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, though he did not disclose the identity of the Chinese banks that are willing to do this.
The statement however noted that Baru hosted a delegation of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) which was led by its President, Dada Thomas, when he made these disclosures.
Baru stated that the corporation got the funding window when it recently signed a $1.78 billion alternative financing agreements with International Oil Companies (IOCS) in London, for oil production, adding that the Chinese banks agreed to contribute $250 million towards the gas line projects.
He equally disclosed that the Chinese banks had made commitments to bring in as much money as might be needed to finance oil and gas investments in Nigeria.
According to him, the NNPC has opted to use the Public Private Partnership (PPP) financing framework to execute the gas line project, and that the corporation’s recent gradual exit from Joint Venture (JV) Cash Call regime would free up a lot of money for the project under this framework.
“We have gone far with the development of the project using the same paradigm shift of Public Private Partnership (PPP) financing. We have also gone far with the contracting process, part of which is to ensure that money meant for the project is raised from the private investors,” Baru, was quoted to have said in the statement.
He explained that the feat recorded in the project would bring to the fore, a new dimension in gas projects execution in the country, noting that it would equally signal a regime of private investors funding for such projects.
“On that occasion, I did challenge the Chinese banks that since they have now come on board, they should move from the back seat to the driver’s seat and they gave me their commitment that they have plans to bring in as much money as we need to execute our projects. And if the Chinese tell you that they are going do it, definitely they will do it and we will give them a run for their money,” he added.
He explained that the corporation would continue to support the federal government’s aspiration to increase Nigeria’s electricity generation to 10,000 megawatts (MW), with improved gas generation and distribution nationwide. 
The recent debt settlement for arrears of JV cash call obligations by the corporation, he stated, would have great impact on the gas industry because the initiative was capable of freeing some dedicated funds that could be used to develop the sector.
“We have the aspiration of government to raise power generation to at least 10GW capacity, not just 10GW in terms of installed capacity, but one that will be steady in the grid by 2020. All these will drive our activities to ensure that the gas business is expanded and government’s aspiration to earn as much revenue from gas as oil will definitely be realised,” he stated.
Baru, said the current efforts to connect the eastern part of the country, where there are lots of gas reserves, with the west, where high consumption demand exists, showed that the NNPC is ready help the country’s power sector grow.
He said the NNPC would make inputs into the National Gas Policy recently adopted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as well as the fiscal bills on gas being worked out by the legislature, with the view to prioritising gas.
The statement equally noted that Thomas, in his remarks applauded Baru for the numerous initiatives he said NNPC has taken, and which had attracted NGA’s attention.
“We would like to congratulate the NNPC on a number of paradigm shifts, changes and initiatives it had brought to the fore in recent times. I am talking about the new alternative funding which you recently signed with Shell and Chevron to the tune of $1.78 billion; the clearing of $400 million debt in April; the progress being made on the ELPS – 2 loop lines and the OB3 gas project, one of the most critical gas pipelines in the country,” Thomas stated.
 
Credit: Thisday
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Why FG Must Revive Ajaokuta Steel Project Now

Why FG Must Revive Ajaokuta Steel Project Now

Ajaokuta Steel Company located in Ajaokuta, Kogi State about 38 km away from Lokoja, the state capital, was established 35 years ago. It was conceived and steadily developed with the vision of erecting a Metallurgical Process Plant Complex with other ancillaries and facilities. The plant was meant to generate important industrial and economic activities that are critical to diversification of the Nigerian economy.
Looking at the intentions behind the establishment, Ajaokuta Steel is therefore tagged the “The Bedrock of Nigeria’s Industrialisation.” But since 1994 when the Federal Government of Nigeria, owner of the plant, stopped funding the completion of the project, the plant has remained at 98 completion status. The rolling plan, for the third decade running, remains tailored towards the reactivation, completion and commissioning of the first of three phases of the project, of  1.3 million tonnes per annum of liquid steel production. The vision 2020:20 economic blueprint document even goes beyond the rolling plan to envisage the actualisation of the third phase of the project – 5.2million tonnes per annum of liquid steel production.

However, the project has had a chequered history occasioned by interplay of forces that have made the integrated commissioning of the Steel plant elusive till date.

According to the Sole Administrator of Ajaokuta Steel, Isah Joseph Onobere, an engineer, “there is so much misconception and misinformation about this project. This is born largely out of ignorance and some orchestrated campaign of calumny against the Nigerian state aimed at ensuring that we remain perpetually a dumping ground for steel products from developed countries.”

Onobere stated this during a 3-day Media Training workshop for Journalists and Reporters designed to cover Steel and Mining Sector, held in Lokoja, recently.

He said that the Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP) project is the development of an integrated iron and steel production and engineering works complex embarked upon by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a strategic industry, job creator and foreign exchange earner and with a foresight on industrialisation and diversification of the national economy.

The sole administrator said that among other expectations, the project “would provide materials for infrastructural development technology acquisition, human capacity building, income distribution, regional development and employment generation.”

He also disclosed that the project would directly employ about 10,000 technical staff at the first phase of commissioning;  the upstream, downstream industries and service providers that would evolve all over the nation and would engage not less than 500, 000 employees when fully operational.

According to him, the present management of the company has been working round the clock to see how to put some of the completed facilities into use.  “We currently produce spare parts machines and accessories in our captive shops for industries, organisations and individuals. We also have subsisting MoUs with private investors for the use of our facilities for educational training. The management has also taken action to salvage the Central Technical Archives to ensure the safety of millions of the Steel plant engineering drawings and documents there,” he said.

He also informed that the company, in respect of the above, has so far taken delivery of some important machines for the purpose of electronic storage and retrieval of technical drawing and documents.

This, according to him, is the realisation of over 20-year-old dream. The goal however, is to complete and commission the first phase of the project which is to produce 1.3million tonnes of liquid steel per year, and subsequently work for other stages of its development.

Onobere also disclosed that government has begun to commit resources towards the maintenance and preservation of the equipment and facilities of the plant, adding that this is pending the decision from the appropriate quarters regarding the completion, commissioning and continuous operation of the Steel plant.  He further said that government is currently considering the report on various options on the way forward as advanced by a nominated Transaction Adviser concerning outright sale, concession or involvement of joint ventures.

He urged the journalists to always bring the issue of the project to the front burner in their reportage.
“The Nigerian steel sector qualifies for declaration of national state of emergency by government. Strategic industries like ours cannot be completely left to the vagaries of the private sector alone. This is because there are numerous socio-economic benefits that cannot be quantified in naira and kobo that will accrue from the full blown development of the Steel sector. As members of the fourth estate of the realm, we hope you will serve as the catalyst we seek and need to catapult Nigeria into the league of steel-producing nations,” the sole administrator said.

Akin Omotosho, an engineer, observed that the Russians gave Nigeria the best in Ajaokuta, lamenting, however that successive governments in the country have abandoned the project and left it to rot away, “while our graduates that are supposed to get employed in Ajaokuta are now roaming the streets in search of employment.”

Credits: Victoria Nnakiaike | BusinessDay

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July 29, 2017

Ebira Youths Congress Urges Federal Gov. to Engage Russians to Complete Ajaokuta Company

 
The Ebira Youth Congress in Kogi has appealed to the Federal Government to engage TyazhPromExport (TPE), a Russian company, on bilateral agreement to complete the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company.

Mr Baba Abdulrazak, President General of the congress, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that government should meet with TPE construction company to complete the remaining two per cent work for Ajaokuta to become operational.

He said the TPE company built Ajaokuta steel to its current level, adding that the Russians knew the remaining areas that should be completed.

He said that the company should not only complete the project but government should also concession the steel company to TPE to operate the project after completion for few years.

“The TPE is the original builder of Ajaokuta steel company; it has the requisite technology and manpower to bring the company on board.

” We are not against government reconcessioning the steel company but it should be given to a company that is trust worthy, that has history on steel business, that is why we want government to give the company to TPE,” he said.

In 1979, during the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, TPE, a leading engineering company, commenced construction works on Ajaokuta steel company Limited which lasted till 1994.

In 1990, as the project approached completion, TPE on monthly bases for 4 years, wrote to the Federal Government reminding it of the need to commence work on the necessary infrastructure needed to successfully operate the steel company.

TPE also suggested the possibility of dredging River Niger which could offer a better and more convenient route of importing raw materials but the then government never yielded to the advice.

He also advised the government to dredge River Niger and construct rail to Ajaokuta to enable easy movement of industrial materials for steel products.
“Government should access loan from a financial home for the construction of rail and for the completion of Ajaokuta steel.”
 
Source Credits: sundiatapost.com
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July 22, 2017

New Development Coming To Ebiraland Vote For Your Hometown Now - Its Urgent

 
Hello my good people of Ebiraland main focus on today's post is the new development we think is coming to Ebiraland but we don't really know the best location for the development.
Its a company that has been doing great by their self and its a Ukrainian company that deals in electronics and home appliances (Wholesale and Retail) with up to 97 branches across Africa already, and its time for Nigeria, instead of going to Lagos and other top authority states in Nigeria, one of their executive that's an Ebira folk thought its best to site this company in Kogi State.
Here we (Ebiraland Media) have come to play, since we reach more Ebira People World Wide than Radios and Televisions, Up To 100,000 visitors are reading our contents across the Globe every month so we were given the work to ask Ebira People on their opinions on where to site the company.
Its going to be a great chance for you to actually rep your people (Hometown) so on this post you will be provided with options to choose from and the options will be names of town in Ebiraland and after voting you can back your vote in the comment section describing why you want the company to be located at the option you have chosen. 

Choose one of the options and click vote below it don't forget to share with friends below so that they can vote too.


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July 1, 2017

Ajaokuta Steel Not Mature for Privatisation – Stakeholders

The Ajaokuta Steel Company has not yet matured for privatization as doing so without completing the project would amount to selling the company as scrap to buyers.

This is the consensus of stakeholders in the iron and steel sector of the country at a joint press briefing in Abuja yesterday, convened by the African Iron and Steel Association, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), representatives of the host communities and other critical stakeholders in the sector.

Ajaokuta Steel Company
A professor of Extractive Metallurgy and Material Processing, who is also the co-chair of the Iron and Steel Development Committee of the NSE, Prof. David Esezobor, said any attempt to privatize the company would yield no positive result as the government should be more focused on completing the project, providing the supporting infrastructure and commercializing the company for some years before privatizing it.

Esezobor said the stakeholders were against the concession of any steel plant in the country, including the recently signed modified concession agreement for Itakpe Iron Ore Mining Company to Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited.

He the Federal Government to invite the original builders of the Ajaokuta Steel Company to complete the project instead of the attempts at concessions.

The convener of the stakeholders’ forum, Dr. Sanusi Muhammed of the African Iron and Steel Association, said Nigeria needs $1.1 million to complete the Ajaokuta Steel project – about $420m to complete the plant and $500m to complete supporting infrastructures around the plant such as roads.
He said at the moment, 40 units of the plant have been completed, with only three units remaining, which government can complete before privatizing the company.

Dr. Muhammed revealed that a company, Ajaokuta Kogi Nigeria Limited, has been registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to acquire Ajaokuta Steel Company, a development which, he said, the stakeholders were already moving against.

A labor leader, Comrade Issa Aremu, has also backed the position of the stakeholders that government should complete the Ajaokuta project before considering its privatization.

He said Nigeria cannot drive development without industrialization and this can only be possible if the steel sector is developed.

Credit: Daily Trust, Kogireports.

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June 18, 2017

How Ajaokuta Steel Complex Was Killed, Buried — Ex-General Manager Explain.


Dr. Philip Atanmuo, the erstwhile General Manager/Project Director of the moribund  Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Ajaokuta, Kogi state has revealed how tribal sentiment, corruption and financial recklessness killed both the multi-million naira Ajaokuta and Delta Steel Complex, Aladja, Delta state. Excerpts:

What is the position of Ajaokuta and Aladja at the moment?

Their positions are nothing to write home about. While Aladja is still functioning on a shaky ground, Ajaokuta died a natural death immediately after the government board of directors who were mainly northerners forced me into retirement and replaced me with their anointed son. I came back from the United States of America in 1977 where I studied engineering up to doctorate degree level and obtained many years of working experience. In 1981, I joined Aladja as Acting General Manager but along the line, I discovered that tribal sentiment from government functionaries was weighing down the complex.

I also discovered then that our leaders were not devoted to the people’s welfare. Developed countries do not allow their steel industries to die because it gives them employment, helps them to train people and above all, help them to produce vehicle components and other components.

In the  first place, the Ajaokuta steel complex was originally proposed to be sited in Onitsha, Anambra state but due to ethnic sentiment and political motive, it was moved to Ajaokuta. A steel complex of that nature could be regarded as a school which needed time to break even. We established Aladja first and it went to 10 to 25 percent production capacity.

In Aladja, somebody was supplying us certain quantity of raw materials at a cheaper rate of N600 per ton and after using the material to produce a certain quantity of iron rod, we would sell it at about N1,100. But at a stage, some government officials went and negotiated with someone else to be supplying the same quantity of raw material at a cost of N1,000.

I kicked against it but I was only a lone voice in the wilderness and eventually, the government officials dropped the contractor who supplied us the material at N600 and handed it over to the one who supplied at N1,000. It was when I expressed my disappointment about such a decision that the officials redeployed me to Ajaokuta.

As an obedient servant, I went to Ajaokuta with an open mind and settled down for work. By then, we were importing bloom and working at a low capacity with the expectations that in time to come, we should have 20,000 direct employees and 150,000 or close to 200,000 indirect employees.

Based on such an expectation, I assembled some senior staff and led them on a delegation to General Ibrahim Babangida, the then military President and appealed to him to release at least 1 billion as lifeline for us to expand.

After some persuasions and contacts, Babangida released a cheque of N500 million as part payment and promised to release another N500 million in due course, depending on our efforts to revamp the industry.

To my greatest surprise, the moment I called a meeting and showed the government officials the cheque from Babangida, they collected the cheque from me, retired me instantly and replaced me with someone else. The unfortunate aspect of it all was that they just shared the money after I had left and folded up the company.

Another unfortunate thing was that most of my assistants who were northerners, were fresh graduates. Some of them had only one or two years working experience after the National Youth Service, yet because they were northerners, they were placed on levels 14 to 16 as assistant general managers for each department. To crown it all, they brought some money to my house here after the cheque had cleared and told me it was my own part of the N500 million shared among themselves. But I drove them away with the money and  told them I was not interested in their corruption.

I told them that as Chairman of Governing Council/Pro-chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi and immediate past Dean of Studies, Faculty of Engineering, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, Uli, Anambra state and the incumbent Head of Department of mechanical Engineering, COOU, Uli, I did not need their money to survive, more so, when I was still a pensioner with Ajaokuta.

So, it would have taken about N1 billion as far back as 1992 to put Ajaokuta into full capacity production but now it will take billions upon billions of naira to start from somewhere because for the government to start from somewhere, the dilapidated water supply plant must be resuscitated, trained personnel must be assembled, the corroded electrical switches must be serviced and a lot of other things.

Credit: Vanguard, Kogireports.

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June 14, 2017

Rep. Member Tasks FG on Ajaokuta Steel Completion

Rep. Member Tasks FG on Ajaokuta Steel Completion

The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Steel Development, Hon. Lawal Idirisu has declared that he would continue to lobby the Federal Government to ensure the quick completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company.


Hon. Lawal who spoke to newsmen in Ajaokuta while giving account of his two years stewardship at the National Assembly stated that the giant steel company situated in his constituency has remained moribund for too long.
 
The National Assembly member said, in the last two years, he has raised motions on the need to avoid the sale of the steel company adding that he has also presented a motion on the need for the Federal Government to renegotiate the completion of the Ajaokuta steel with its original builders.
 
Hon. Lawal said the revamping of Itakpe Iron Ore Mining Company, Ajaokuta Steel and the development of steel companies across the country has remained his heart beat since he assumed office in June 2015. He maintained that he will continue to use his political synergy to ensure that the companies are productive in his time.
 
On the dividends of democracy to the electorates of his constituency, the Federal lawmaker said he has carried out free medical care treatment for members of his constituency. He added that he has also given financial assistant to women across the fourteen wards of the local government to enable them embark on any trade of their choice.
 
He further stated that he has successfully used his office to facilitate gainful employment for youths into Navy and Police force.
 
Hon. Lawal thanked the electorate for the support he has continued to enjoy from them. He assured them that he would continue to do his best to lobby for more dividends of democracy from the Federal Government to his constituency in the years ahead.
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May 20, 2017

Activate Ajaokuta Steel Plant, APBON Tells FG

Activate Ajaokuta Steel Plant, APBON Tells FG


The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBON) has said that the Federal Government should activate and ensure that various plants of the Ajaokuta Steel Company are functioning to boost the nation’s economy.
The President of the association, Dr. Omede Idris, made the call yesterday in Asaba as part of the resolution at the sixth edition of the presidential retreat of the association.
Dr. Omede said that government should genuinely address the activation, functionality and multiple concessions of the various plants of ASJ, adding that during the 6th Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) Presidential Retreat, with the theme “Roles of Professionals in Economic Recovery and Growth” in Asaba, the Delta State capital, that for over 38 years since the project got under way, the economic spinner had yet to grow proportionately.
He also challenged professionals to use their vision, diplomacy, drive and inspirational capabilities to make good judgments and far reaching decisions in the interest of the profession and the nation.
Omede said that Nigeria and Nigerians must look inward and patronise her professionals, engage the professionals in both development of policy and execution of projects, adding that for increased output, professionals must be consistent in their ethical professional conduct and patriotism to the nation.
The AFBN boss assured that, “AFBN will continue to raise and create awareness and highlight the importance of professionals in her collective goal and aspirations to serve our nation for better outcome and impact through efficiency.
Speaking during the closing ceremony yesterday, the Delta State Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro declared that the nation needs the participatory involvement of professionals to redirect the economy.
The state Deputy Governor, who was represented by the Executive Assistant, Boundary Matters, Office of the Deputy Governor, Chief Gweke Akudhor, said that the wealth of experience of professionals was required to salvage the nation’s dying economy.
He noted that the Federal Government has set in motion, plans to launch the economy recovery and growth, adding that the plan was designed to restore the economic growth, which will be achieved by diversification of macro-economics in energy, agriculture, science and technology.
Otuaro stated that the Delta State government was not left out in the pursuit of economic recovery and growth.
According to him, the state government, through its SMART Agenda, had been able to revitalise the various entrepreneur skills acquisition for the unemployed and have encouraged the establishment of various self sustainable jobs for her unemployed.
While noting that the presidential retreat of the professional bodies is most apt and timely, he called for the professionals’ sincere cooperation and wealth of experience in order to drive this plan.
The retreat featured various lectures touching on contemporary global challenges and implications on Nigeria’s economic development with a view on the roles of engineering in infrastructure and process industries, de-professionalisation of the labour process in the Nigerian economy, Public Private Sector Partnership as the topic for economic recovery, sustainable growth and development: the roles of banks and bankers among others.
The Speakers, Engr. Olumuyiwa Ajibola, Ola Garuba, Prof. Segun Ajimobi and Dr. Frank Odafen in their various capacities identified some of the problems currently affecting world development to include non inclusiveness policies, terrorism, unemployment, climate change and global finance necessitated by limited access to credit.
They noted that effective utilisation of engineering resources and professional inputs would immensely affect development positively in developing countries like Nigeria.
Credit: The Pointer, Kogireports.com 
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August 5, 2016

{Video}Ajaokuta Steel Company Is Back In Nigeria’s Control – Fayemi

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, says part of the terms of agreement that led to the return of Global Infrastructure Holdings Limited for the revamping of the Nigeria Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe in Kogi State, is the return of Ajaokuta Steel Company to Nigeria.

Ajaokuta Steel, Fayemi
Dr. Fayemi spoke on Sunrise Daily against the backdrop of criticisms of the decision by the federal government to invite a company whose contract was terminated by the administration of the late Musa Yar’adua.

He explained that what the government has done with the renegotiated contract is to take back Ajaokuta Steel Plant, which is in line with the administration’s campaign promises.

“We’ve been locked down in this endless arbitration for the past eight years preventing that particular promise that the President made to Nigerians to come to fruition.

“With all of our best efforts – legal, political, we came to a conclusion that there was no other way we could have accomplished that without giving something that will enable us to do so.

“Don’t forget this was a contract that was revoked and there was clearly a breach on the part of the Nigerian government when it revoked the contract.

“This is what led Global Steel Holding Company to take Nigeria to the London Court of Arbitration and that is what we have been dragging all these years,” he explained.

Dr Fayemi recalled that Nigeria had already admitted to being liable to pay up to the tune of 700 million dollars for what the company had invested in the concession.

“So we succeeded in getting Global Steel to release Ajaokuta without paying a dime.”

He went on to clarify, however, that the return of Global Steel is for the remaining period of the concession.
“It was a 10-year concession; three years had been completed before the revocation. Now there is seven years left of the concession and all that we have done is to allow Global Steel come and complete the concession.”

He said that a joint audit of the Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe has been initiated to be overseen by an independent audit firm as the federal government begins the process of the takeover of Ajaokuta Steel Company.

Source: Channeltv



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July 6, 2016

Kogi feasibility confirms technical, economic viability of Agbaja

Kogi feasibility confirms technical, economic viability of Agbaja

 JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Kogi Iron has confirmed the technical and economic viability of its Agbaja iron-ore and steel project, in Nigeria, following the conclusion of a feasibility study.
Kogi: Group appeals to parties, seeks end to varsity strike
In addition to the positive and robust results, the study enabled an opportunity to further refine and optimise the production process before committing to any major-scale production plants.

A definitive feasibility study would be completed upon the finalisation of the environmental, financing, technical design and budgeting aspects, with a report-back to shareholders expected within months.
“We are delighted to have concluded our study and will now move quickly to progress negotiations with a wide range of parties who can assist Kogi in its work to deliver this project for its shareholders,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Kogi intended to fund the project through international institutions.

Subject to final feasibility and financing, Kogi intended to engage a mining contractor for site development, overburden and waste removal, openpit mining, haulage and ore feed to a primary crusher.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter 

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June 13, 2016

In Kogi, ceramics firms’ workers grumble over labour violation, exploitation

In Kogi, ceramics firms’ workers grumble over labour violation, exploitation

In Kogi, ceramics firms’ workers grumble over labour violation, exploitation
Crossview of West African Ceramics Company, Ajaokuta

The establishment of two ceramics firms, namely West African Ceramics Limited and BN Ceramics Industry Nigeria Limited, to create jobs for the unemployed people was the best thing that happened at Ajaokuta, a town in Kogi State. But sooner than expected, many of the workers started complaining of alledged dehumanisation and exploitation.

West African Ceramics Limited, Ajaokuta, established in Nigeria since 1995 under the name Royal Ceramics, located in Suleja, Niger State, is a leading brand name in the Nigerian ceramics market and Sub-Saharan West African region due to growing demand for European standard quality tiles. Its competitor, BN Ceramics Industry Nigeria Limited, is also carving a niche for itself in the same area.

However, cross section of workers who spoke to Daily Trust alleged that the two firms, operated by Indian and Chinese expatriates, are not complying with the extant labour laws of Nigeria.

It should be noted that the relationship between employers and employees (industrial relations) is structured, mediated and regulated by general and specific laws as enshrined in relevant public policies of international labour standards, coded in conventions and recommendations, as well as national legislations with a view at ensuring that in the course of employment, people work in dignity and humane conditions. 

There are pointers that employees in these firms are not getting a fair deal from their job places.

In West African Ceramics Limited and BN Ceramics Industries Nigeria Limited, workers who spoke to Daily Trust at their factories near the Niger (Murtala) Bridge in Ajaokuta, some 10 kilometres from Itobe town, on condition of anonymity for fear of intimidation and likely sack, alleged that there have been cases of noncompliance with labour law on employment, remuneration and the adoption of unethical measures in punishing employees.

There are also concerns over alleged disregard for the rights of workers to rest and leisure. The workers claim they are underpaid, and made to work during weekends and holidays with no commensurate appreciation.

Workers, especially at the West African Ceramics, express their displeasure over prolonged working hours and casualisation of workers and working without appointment letters. A similar situation was alleged by employees of BN Ceramics Limited.

Workers in West African Ceramics described how majority of the staff earn only between N18,100 and N20,100 while those in BN Ceramics earn between N18,000 to N30,000, a remuneration they say is not commensurate to the workloads of workers at the factories who work from 7:00am-7:00pm.   

Workers of the two companies alleged disregard for industrial legislations which seek to protect workers from work-related hazards and diseases and refusal of the companies to pay compensations for injuries or disabilities suffered in the course of work, citing how some workers, especially at the West African Ceramics, suffered injuries and died in the cause of their jobs without compensation.

Some workers in BN Ceramics voiced their displeasure over alleged racist dispositions being exhibited by some of the expatriates of the companies. Alleging an instance of high handedness and molestation of workers by Chinese expatriates which, sometimes ago, culminated into the shooting of one Oloye Elega, a cleaner in the company, under a controversial circumstance. They also frowned at the company’s policy of employing women for night shifts and the attendant abuse they are bound to suffer by virtue of their night work.

The concerned workers appealed to the government to intervene by prevailing on the two companies to stop all forms of anti-workers’ activities and improve on the welfare and wellbeing of workers.  

But in a reaction, the Human Resource/Administration Manager and Spokesman of BN Ceramics, Malam Saliu Mohammed, said that the working condition provided by the firm is the best the firm could offer. He said that the firm pays daily wages to employees of N600 - N1,000 for work done from 7:00am to 7:00pm and a bonus of N10,000 if an employ makes a 28 working days in a month through weekends and holidays or N13,000 for 30 working days work. He said that work officially closes by 5:00pm everyday while the overtime period is between 5:00pm and 7:00pm. The sum of N120, he said, is paid for the two extra hours of work while work during public holidays attract twice that amount. 

Salihu debunked allegations of high handedness and molestations of workers levied against expatriates in the company. He, however, said that language barrier between the expatriates (Chinese) and Nigerians working in the company often make some of the expatriates to raise their voices whenever they issue instructions to workers. 

On the alleged shooting of a company worker, Oloye Elega, by an expatriate in the company, Salihu said that the incident occurred, adding that it was not intentional. According to him the concerned expatriate staff footed the medical bills of the injured staff and he was arrested by the security agencies who seized his passport. 

But when Daily Trust contacted the Oloye on the matter, he complained of being abandoned by the company, saying that he was not compensated by the company.

On their part, in an interview with Daily Trust in Abuja, the management of West African Ceramics, represented by the human resource manager,  Alhaji Abdulraheem Bello, and three others, namely, Alhaji Adama Samari (labour contractor), Alhaji Mohammed Ndanusa (administrative director) and a trustee of the National Union of Chemicals, Footwear, Rubber, Leather, and Non-Metallic Product Employees (NUCFLANMPE), Comrade Isiaku Musa, denied most of the workers’ claims, insisting that the company complies with the relevant laws regulating industrial relations in Nigeria. “The company places premium on the wellbeing of its workers which it demonstrated in workers remuneration of a sum above the national minimum wage, ranging between N20,000 and above, depending on the categorisation the worker falls under” Bello said. 

He said that workers are entitled to one day off, per week, sick, casual and annual leaves. 
On the issue of overtime, Bello said that workers in West African Ceramics are not forced to embark on overtime work, as alleged. He added that the official working ours last between 7:00am and 4:00pm, with a one hour break interval, while workers are at liberty to do overtime which lasts between 4:00pm and 7:00pm  Commenting on the complaints over prolonged casualisation of workers without conversion and promotion, Bello said: “The confirmation of a staff on probation is legally six months, subject to performance, there are some that have spent about two years on probation.”

 He said that the management will address the issue of appointment letters for its workers.
On the case of industrial safety, he said that the company has an industrial clinic to handle emergency cases and three other designated hospitals where sick staff are usually referred to for treatment, if need be.
The negligence of employees in using protective wares is responsible for cases of accidents that led to the death of a staff and loss of body parts of some other workers for which the company spent over N4 million for treatment and compensation, he said. Though, the  workers refuted this claim.

Source Credits : DailyTrust.

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