Speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday said the abandonment of the Ajaokuta steel plant which has gulped over $5.1 billion dollars over the years was an expressive metaphor of ineptitude and bad governance.
In his words, ‘To our collective shame, the present state of Ajaokuta steel complex is more of an expressive metaphor of our ineptitude and bad governance over the years’.
He said he was dismayed February 12, this year when he visited the steel complex in company of members of the House Committee on Steel.
‘I dare to say that the visit was an eye-opener. The plant has an installed capacity of 1.3 million tons P/A with provision to increase capacity to 2.6 million tons and further to 5.2 million tons per annum. The first phase of the complex is 98% completed with 40 of the 43 units already installed’.
He affirmed that the federal government has invested over $5.1 billion into the complex.
During his visit, the speaker found out that the complex has a complete internal standard gauge rail track of approximately 68kms.
‘Out of 10,000 housing units targeted in the first phase, about 3,500 units are completed and have been occupied since the 1980s, while the rest were abandoned at various stages of completion’.
‘The complex has two power plants with total installed capacity of 110MW of electricity which is more than enough to power the entire complex, the whole of Kogi and Edo States. The complex boasts of first class internal road networks. It is also linked to Warri by Standard gauge rail line and gas pipeline,” Dogara narrated.
Dogara made this revelations in plenary during the sectors debate of the house on major sectors of the economy with senior members of the federal executive council to help proffer legislative and policy solutions to existing national challenges.
The Speaker who was worried about the state of the project said when the projected is completed, ‘the Ajaokuta Steel plant has the capacity to generate about $1.7 billion per annum, employ over 10,000 engineers and technicians; employ over 10,000 other personnel; lead to the creation of over 2 million indirect jobs; increase Nigeria’s export earnings by over 1 billion USD yearly.”
He further assured that it would save over $15 billion USD worth of steel products imported into Nigeria annually if statistics from the NBS is anything to go by.
A visibly angry speaker thundered, ‘Imagine if there is any nation on this earth that will sink more than $5.1billion of its hard earned money on any project and walk away from it when it is 98% completed’.
He also wondered if this could be a national sabotage or bewitched by some powerful sorcerers.