A group of professional miners, under the auspices of the Miners’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), has charged the federal government to actively engage them in the planned reconstruction and operational revival of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.
The miners made the call following a Memorandum of Understanding between the Nigerian and Russian governments to flag off the multi-billion-naira steel plant.
Kabir Kankara, national president of the association stated that one of the challenges crippling the mining industry is financial implications of the covid-19 pandemic. He stressed on the need for the government to provide financial palliatives to operators in the mining sector to alleviate the impacts of the pandemic.
Kankara further stated that miners in the country have a great role to play in the resuscitation of the steel company as a result of their strategic position in the industry over a long period of time.
He expressed optimism that the revival of the steel industry will become a reality if the Nigerian government fulfills its pledges to allow the Russians come genuinely with good intentions and required expertise.
He also maintained that miners need more support in the provision of equipment and logistics, improved working capital and a more enabling environment for geographical activities.
“We cannot do without the steel industry. By the time the Ajaokuta Steel industry comes alive and functional, it will go a long way in creating a safe haven for the economy to climb up both in infrastructure and job creation,” he said.
Speaking on the role of the association towards actualising the project, he said the association will supply local raw materials for steel production provided they are supported with the required logistics and financial support.
The Ajaokuta Steel Mill located in Ajaokuta, Kogi State is reputed to be the largest steel mill in the country but it has not functioned properly since establishment as a result of not being fully completed and alleged mismanagement.