The Nigerian government has been challenged to use part of the recovered stolen funds to revive the Ajaokuta steel plant in Kogi state.
Mr Otori Saliu, a former National President of Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria gave this challenge in Abuja.
He urged the Federal Government to use part of the recovered loots to complete the remaining two per cent of the Ajaokuta steel company.
According to him, the facilities in Ajaokuta steel cannot be compared or found in any steel company abroad; it is integrated and can produce steel for making cars and fix cars.
“The Ajaokuta steel is integrated, it has 43 plants where steel needed for cars, aeroplane, among others, can be manufactured and assembled because it is an integrated steel plant,” he said.
He said that government should expedite action with strong political will to get Ajaokuta running, adding that some past administrations had promised to revive the steel company during political campaigns, but failed to fulfill the promise.
According to him, workers are working on the abandoned company 24 hours, especially at the downstream end of the plant to prevent it from submerging due to its closeness to River Niger.
“In spite of their commitment to safeguarding the upstream and downstream sections of the steel plant, the Federal Government has continued to pay Ajaokuta workers low salary. We are trying our best to test run the equipment in the plant to ensure they are still functioning. We have staff working at the downstream section 24 hours pumping out water that found its way into the plant, if this is not done, Ajaokuta could submerged within few days.”
Stakeholders in the steel sector have urged the Federal Government to expedite action in reviving the Ajaokuta steel through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.