Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house, says the total amount of $5.1 billion has so far been invested in the Ajaokuta steel company located in Kogi state.
Dogara, therefore, condemned reported moves to concession the company, wondering if Nigeria has been “bewitched by some powerful sorcerers”.
Dogara said this on Thursday while speaking at the sectoral debate organised by the house of representatives.
He said the steel plant has an installed capacity of 1.3 million tons per annum with provision to increase capacity to 2.6 million tons and further to 5.2 million tons per annum.
He wondered why government officials were planning to concession the plant when its first phase is “98 percent completed with 40 of the 43 units already installed”.
Dogara said the complex has two power plants with total installed capacity of 110MW of electricity, “more than enough to power the entire complex, the whole of Kogi and Edo states”.
“When completed, the Ajaokuta Steel plant has capacity to generate about $1.7 billion per annum, employ over 10,000 engineers and technicians; employ over 10,000 other personnel; and lead to the creation of over two million indirect jobs,’ he said.
“It will also increase Nigeria’s export earnings by over $1 billion per annum and save over $15 billion worth of steel products imported into Nigeria annually if statistics from the NBS is anything to go by.”
The speaker asked those present to “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”.
“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.
Both Kayode Fayemi, ministers of mines and steel development; and Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, who were invited to the debate, were absent.