Olamilekan Adegbite, Nigeria’s minister of mines and steel development, has revealed why an agreement between President Muhammadu Buhari and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on resuscitating Ajaokuta Steel Company failed.
The minister spoke at a media briefing held in the presidential villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
He said, “In 2019, at the Russian-Africa summit in Moscow, President Muhammadu Buhari discussed the idea of resuscitating Ajaokuta with President Vladimir Putin.
“An agreement was reached for Russian engineers to come in for a technical audit by March 2020.
“But the emergence of the first and second waves of COVID-19 stalled the plan,” he said.
Adegbite said there are plans to bring back the plant, which has guzzled billions of taxpayers’ money, to life.
According to him, 11 foreign investors have already indicated their interests in running the plant.
“We hope that we can give Ajaokuta to a company, not just on a concession basis, but on equity participation. We’re talking of companies who intend to bring their own money into Ajaokuta to make sure that it works.
“The plant is still good. If we put in the right amount of capital, it’ll start producing in less than two years.
“Government has employed a transaction adviser who will guide us through the process,” he said.