Says time for Nigeria to get it right

Women miners hail FG over inauguration of Presidential Cttee on Ajaokuta Steel Coy

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

Women miners under the auspices of Women In Mining, Nigeria, WIMN, Wednesday, hailed the Federal Government over the inauguration of Ajaokuta Presidential Project Inauguration Team, APPIT, on Monday, to reposition and facilitate bilateral agreement Nigeria reached with Russia at Sochi in order to enable it to begin steel production.

The move was commended by the National President, WIMN, Engr Janet Adeyemi, in a telephone chat with Vanguard, while speaking on the need for Nigeria to take her place in the global steel industry over 40 years of execution of Ajaokuta Steel Company project.

Adeyemi also was optimistic that it is a good idea that the President was able to go to the African bilateral meeting in Sochi, Russia, where he was able to meet President Vladimir Putin, which they demonstrated commitment, and also being a government to government affair there is the possibility of Ajaokuta Steel Company to be resuscitated.

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She further stated that since renowned banks like the Russian Export Bank and the AfriApex Bank are all part of it is a welcome development, because it is a sign of good things to come.

She said: “It is exciting and anybody will be so excited that a major industry in this country and her country is being revamped especially after a long time. Ajaokuta came on board almost 50 years ago.

“We give God the glory if they are able to revamp it, especially linking back to the original people who own the technology. I am talking of the country where the technology came from because within the space of five to10 years so many things have changed and so many things will have to be changed in terms of efficiency because automation had come in, the use of ICT, robotic technology it will no longer be feasible to go completely by the original design is in my own reasonable thinking.

“I don’t have any document about what they are doing, but it is a good idea that the President was able to go to the African bilateral meeting in Sochi, where he was able to meet President Vladimir Putin and they are committed and the good thing again is that it is a government to government thing, and I can assure you that no individual government can take that thing up and get it going.

“So since it is the government to government bilateral agreement I think it is welcomed. Yes, we might have some concessionaires, contractors, and sub-concessionaires to join up, understanding what experts that are coming from there are doing, but the government to government bilateral agreement is welcomed.

“We have some major banks; the Russian Export Bank and the AfriApex Bank is a welcomed development.

“I am happy it is about to commence and it will transform the face of Nigeria because any country that is into still business about 50 per cent of their problem is solved because of industrialization.

“If we are able to do it the face of Nigeria will change and who knows COVID-19 could be a blessing at the end of the day.

“Oil is shutting down we should be able to look at other things. So maybe for once, Nigeria will get serious.”

Although, the former Federal Lawmaker also expressed some concerns over the present novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic that has terribly affected the global oil and gas industry, which Russia and Nigeria are heavyweight players, therefore depend on it for foreign exchange revenue, hence the funds to begin the process of resuscitating Ajaokuta Steel Complex might be difficult to access and channeled on the project.

“However, my own worry is this. The success of such projects as this, the ability to be able to drive it to the end because both countries are experiencing the pandemic and it is a global thing and oil companies have suffered more causality.

“Russia is an oil-driven economy and is equally an oil-based economy just as Nigeria. So we have quite a number of similarities in terms of that but they are more diversified than we are.

“In terms of funding I am just worried and I hope that other sectors of the economy will not be hurt because so many things are competing. What I am saying, in essence, is that when we had good money we wasted the opportunity.

“But maybe with the paucity of funds for certain period for Nigeria like I tell people is that maybe God gave us a second opportunity to reset our lifestyle, thinking, and everything we do and ensure we get it right this time”, she stated.

On the capacity and caliber of persons in the committee, she said, “Finally, I looked at the composition, I am happy because under the list of the Presidential Committee I saw what they listed as experts.

“I think that is a good idea because we have a major problem in Nigerian and at times at look at those people in government and that you are in government with no little experience whatsoever.

“Nigeria has a way of putting them in the forefront of major discussions that have serious economic of financial implications and that is why we fail wolfly.

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For a serious-minded country with 250 million people, you have experts, people that are excess and Nigerians are doing very well in other countries and we have to look for experts who are good in these things such that at the end of the day a civil servant that knows little or nothing when you put them at the forefront of such committees and heading it such could be injurious to the system.

“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to dig out real professionals, people who are originally part of the working of the system; some of them are still alive and some of them are retired fish and bring them back.

“We should learn to spread out, search for our eggheads in our system, experts negotiators who will be on the table and they are not going anywhere, they are technocrats, who are there for the country and some can do it on pro bono because they are happy working for their country.

She (Adeyemi) also advised that professionals and technocrats should be the persons to belong to high-level committees that speak on behalf of the country with her counterparts, which also women of proven integrity and professionalism in various fields should be part of such committees because they can use their professional influence together adding a feminine touch, which makes the country come out successful.

“It is not just on Ajaokuta alone but in all areas and the government should start looking at it to address that aspect of Nigeria. Take advantage of the people you have, make it an all-inclusive process where everybody is happy. I expect to see professionals, development gurus, and how these things are being done in that committee”, she stated.


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