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Ajaokuta Steel plant will provide over 15,000 jobs —Union chairman

ajaokuta

The Federal Government is making concerted effort to resuscitate the ailing Ajaokuta Steel Company, what is your comment on this effort?

The labour unions for many years  have been on the vanguard, appealing to the Federal Government to rehabilitate, complete and make the giant steel industry operational in order to generate revenue and create enormous jobs for Nigerian youth, many of whom have graduated, but roaming the streets without  any hope for employment that can earn them livelihood.

We lack words to express our gratitude to President Buhari for the effort and concern shown so far concerning the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Company. We are glad and grateful because  the recent decision of the government to give the steel company back to the original builders which is the Russians was a very good step in the right direction.

It is obvious now that the President and his team have put a square peg on a square hole. This type of decision has eluded the company for almost four decades. We are happy today because in the recent past, previous administrations have made a concession agreement with some  foreign companies but to no avail because they don’t owned the technology in Ajaokuta Steel Company

The current bold step taken by President Buhari by given out the company back to the original builder which is the Russians that owned the technology is a way forward for the steel company and we believe that for Mr President to come out boldly with this singular decision shown that he has seen clearly that steel production in Nigeria is the best alternative to dwindling crude oil that can no longer sustain the country.

It is no longer a hidden fact that the crude oil will one day dried off and even now the price has crashed to an unexpected level that oil producing countries have started looking for diversification in order to improve their economy. Since Nigeria is among such countries, I think the political will of the President towards revamping Ajaokuta steel company is a welcome development.

We have been saying it often before now and I want to reiterate once again that if Ajaokuta steel complex is completed and operational, it will be a great foreign exchange earner to the country and the employment opportunity alone will enable the federal government to engage the teeming unemployed youth and this will invariable reduce youth restiveness and also wipe away crimes associated with idleness as a result of unemployment.

If the company is operating at full capacity it can provide over 15,000 jobs aside the subsidiary companies that will evolve and also created thousands of jobs for the nation.

 

Some people are of the view that the blast furnace technology used in building Ajaokuta Steel Plant over thirty years ago  is obsolete, what is your take on this?

The technology adopted for the Ajaokuta steel plant is the Basic Oxygen Furnace Technology otherwise known as Blast Furnace which has capacity of processing even the least acceptable grades of Iron Ore and very  flexible in operation.

Ajaokuta steel plant equipments and facilities are robust, rugged and designed with 25 per cent safety factor. Similar plants in Russia and Ukraine have been in  operation for over 100 years till date.

If the total world crude steel production as at December, 2012 stands at approximately 1.5 billion tones, representing 100 per cent and 70 per cent was produced through the basic oxygen furnace technology (Blast Furnace), the technology therefore remains the most acceptable and applied technology in Iron making process.

However, it is erroneous for anybody or groups to claim that the technology used in building Ajaokuta Steel Plant is obsolete when the most established and energy efficient steel process technology worldwide still remain the blast furnace.

Also, despite the long year partial operation of the steel plant, the technical readiness which was 98 per cent has not diminished significantly as preservation of equipment and facilities are constantly undertaken by the steel workers which was invariably confirmed by the technical audit report of 2010 and the recent one conducted through the effort of the Sole Administrator of the steel plant Engineer Ismaila Abdul-Aka’aba in 2018.

 

How prepared are the workers of the steel plant as the original builders are on their way back to the plant and what do the workers stand to gain from the completion of the plant ?

It is very clear that if Ajaokuta Steel Company is working, my members and other staff of the company stand to benefit a lot.

I am happy that Ajaokuta Steel workers are not lazy as they have tried to preserved the equipment of the company both the ones under ground and the surface level.

In Ajaokuta Steel complex, the management engaged the workers on 3-shift – 4 brigades system to avoid sinking of the equipment. The company is manned 24 hours to ensure that the property and the equipment are not only intact but safe.

The steel company was established majorly below the sea level and most of the installed  equipment under ground if not by de-flooding and evacuation of flood under ground by the staff that are running the shift 24 hours, most of the equipment would have been submerged by water and rendered them useless but after several decades, the workers were able to preserve the equipment against vandalisation or damage.

 

 

 

and the 2018/2019 technical audit conducted on those equipment attested to the fact that the equipment are intact  through the selfless effort of the workers who strongly believed that government property should not be allow to waste.

I am optimistic that by the time the Russians come to Ajaokuta steel company, they will have little to do because of the significant roles play by the workers of the steel industry. The workers have been yearning and waiting  for this opportunity to come so that they can still display their talents and skills they poses . I am also confident and optimistic that with the coming  of the Russians, the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Company is forward ever and backward never.

The Sole Administrator is a  man who  came into the company with zeal  to ensure that the steel plant worked for the benefit of Nigerians. This he demonstrated severally through his innovation of ideas that today is already at the verge of putting the plant in a position that Nigerians and indeed African countries desired.

It is pertinent to mention that since the Sole Administrator came, he has been doing a lot to encourage the workers to discharge their statutory responsibilities. The management have also sacrificed a lot to ensure that the resuscitation of the steel comes true.

Abdul-Aka’aba is an upright man who have the interest of the workers at heart and the coming of Russian will definitely spur him to do more for the workers. He has been encouraging the union  and preparing the workers ahead of  arrival of the the Russians  so that they can do their bid in bring qthe industry back to life.

It is obvious now that the Ajaokuta steel company is at the verge of revitalization, how prepared is the current management of the company in terms of withstanding the task ahead?

In fact,  I am using this medium to commend the present management led by Engineer Ismaila Abdul Aka’aba. I don’t have any doubt over the readiness of the management because the Sole Administrator is an Engineer of high repute who had garnered a lot of experience from many reputable companies .

It is obvious that the calibre of men and women that constitute the management of the Ajaokuta Steel are ever ready to receive the Russians and work with them harmoniously to achieve the aim and objective of Mr President toward injecting life into the industry once again.

Now that the rays of hope for Ajaokuta resuscitation is clear, what is your advise to workers of the steel plant ?

The workers have been patient enough and we expect them to exercise more patient so that any plan the federal government has for the company can be achieve through our cooperation . When the global infrastructural company an Indian investors came , they did not add value to the steel company, but yet  we cooperated with them even though they were unable to do anything tangible, now that the original builder are coming we are resolute and ready to work with them harmoniously to achieve the set target.

Therefore I am of the opinion that  the federal government should give national award to the staff of Ajaokuta steel plant  because they are heroes considering the way and manner they were able to preserve the steel plant for the nation.

Ajaokuta Steel plant will provide over 15,000 jobs —Union chairman
Tribune Online



source https://tribuneonlineng.com/ajaokuta-steel-plant-will-provide-over-15000-jobs-union-chairman/

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