The Federal government has said that the Ajaokuta Steel Plant will no longer be ready before 2023 as earlier promised by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Nigeria’s minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this while
addressing State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday March 31.
Adegbite said the federal government had earlier before the pandemic, successfully convinced Russia to complete the steel facility but could not proceed with the negotiations.
This includes a $2 million fee for technical audit required to ascertain the state of the facility before work would begin.
The Minister added that while the government moved to continue the negotiations with Russia after the lockdown, its progress was stalled again due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Adegbite also promised that the federal government would initiate irreversible processes to ensure the resumption and eventual completion of the steel facility after Buhari’s administration.
Also commenting on gold mining in Zamfara state, the minister said the government had halted mining activities in the area.
According to him, “We try to nip them in the bud wherever they rear their heads.
“With the community reporting to us, we have a quick intervention force. We can’t be proactive; it is too expensive to maintain. But we have a quick intervention force.
“If we hear any mining happening in any nook and cranny, we move in there and dislodge them. Those that are arrested, we confiscate their equipment and they are prosecuted.”
Adegbite also said Nigeria has attained self-sufficiency in barite production and would no longer need to import from October 2022.