14th June, 2011
Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, Senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial Zone has appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel project in the interest of the country.
Abatemi-Usman, in a statement, noted that the completion of the project would go a long way in turning around the economic fortunes of the entire country and reducing the rising rate of criminal activities which are usually caused by unemployment.
The Senator, who is a former special assistant to the embattled erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, said with the gigantic amount of about $4.5 billion spent on the project, it would make much sense for it to be brought to finishing point.
The project which, according to Abatemi-Usman, an agricultural engineering graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), only requires about $500 million to complete is capable of engaging over 40,000 people.
â€œI think the Ajaokuta Steel Project should be of paramount importance to the Federal Government at this point in time. As a matter of fact, it is one project that the Federal Government cannot continue to pay lukewarm attention to and remain indifferent about. The Ajaokuta Steel project has about eleven full-fledged companies within it and these companies when put to optimal utilisation can generate over 40,000 jobs for the local population,â€ Abatemi-Usman explained.
He added: â€œIt was said that former President Olusegun Obasanjoâ€™s administration, spent about $4.5 billion and now the complex only requires about $500 million for it to be brought to completion. Surely, this is a project that has the capacity to generate some megawatts of electricity and which would in the end be a major contributor to the national grid. Since President Goodluck Jonathan has talked about his transformational agenda, I am using this medium to appeal to him to see to the completion of this wonderful and all-important project in the life time of his administration. I have no doubt that the transformed Nigerian that he desires, would certainly come to fruition if he treats the project with utmost concern.â€