Mr Mohammed Boughei Attah, the Africa Regional Coordinator for the World Association of NGOs, in this interview speaks on how the Federal Government can revive Ajaokuta steel company. He advised the government to stop wastage on other non performing projects like the building of new refineries, but rather concentrate and complete the existing ones like Ajaokuta Steel Company that is the Gateway to Nigeria industrialization.Excerpts:
Question:Briefly, lead us into your background?
Answer: I am a social worker, procurement professional and anti-corruption crusader. I currently serve as the Africa Regional Coordinator for the World Association of NGOs. This is in addition to piloting NGO Network, a national civil society engagement organ working for both the private, public and the not-for-profit sectors.
Question: As an activist what’s your view about industrialization policy of the government?
Answer: My view as expressed by the actions of the present administration are based on several initiatives and drive in that direction. Of course we have seen a lot of infrastructural development across Nigeria today. We are witnessing to the annual science and technology fair and most recently, the Ministry was renamed to include innovation. These are elements of industrialization and growth. Despite all these however, we are still far behind to meeting the goal. Our industries are broken, there’s no functional steel industry or a sustainable ore mining sites that can boost the country’s industrial growth.
Question: What’s the problem with steel company in Nigeria?
Answer:The problems are many, and about 90% of the problems are internal. Political Will is a huge challenge to Nigeria and Africa at large. Imagine Ajaokuta Steel Company that is 95% completed, with capacity to employ 60 thousand workforce, direct and indirect unattended. The government of Muhammadu Buhari promised the revival of Ajaokuta among his campaign promises. While I will say the government has made efforts, what is on the ground is not enough. What happened to the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team, APPIT? Where are the Russian experts expected to visit on an evaluation exercise to kickstart the process of recovery? Where is the AFREXIM bank that is expected to provide the funding for this takeoff? So many questions unanswered.
Question: How can FG revive Ajaokuta steel company?
Answer: As I said earlier, the process is on with a the activities include a Presidential Team to oversee the activities. What is missing and on which we are advising the government is stop wastage on other non performing projects like new refineries, concentrate and complete the existing ones like Ajaokuta that is the Gateway to Nigeria industrialization. There are uncountable opportunities associated with ASCL if fully functional. Some of the areas include steel productions that can turnaround our future. We can produce power to about six states in Nigeria, oxygen that is so much needed for Corona Virus patients can be produced in Ajaokuta among rail rods, housing needs etc.
Question: What’s your conference all about?
Answer: This upcoming Conference which is tagged National Conference on Ajaokuta Steel Project and President Muhammadu Buhari Industrialization Agenda is the first of its kind in the Ajaokuta phenomenon. It is specifically design to interrogate the issues and bottlenecks around the revival of the steel company. It is mean to reawaken the consciousness of Nigerians to the realization that our hope for he future, in the midst of dwindling resources is Ajaokuta Steel Company. So we have engaged stakeholders from across Nigeria and beyond to connect and dialogue on the way forward. As a fact there’s no going back on the revival of Ajaokuta as Hon. Kazaure posited on the floor of the National Assembly few years ago. The two Chambers of the National Assembly have passed a resolution that the steel plant should be revived to full utilization.