President Muhammadu Buhari,on thursday said the Ajaokuta Steel Complex would provide 500,000 estimated jobs for Nigerian youths.
He added that his government had spent over $400m (N179bn), to liberate Ajaokuta Steel complex from the “legal traps” that have kept it unattractive to private investors for decades.
He also spoke of the determination of his administration to position Kogi as an industrial hub as well as a solid mineral power base.
According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said this at the Palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, which he earlier commissioned as part of his one-day state Visit to Kogi State.
The statement was titled, “APC has delivered on electoral promises, says President Buhari as he commissions projects in Kogi.”
Highlighting the regime’s investment in the decades-old steel processing facility, the President said no other single project holds the key to unlocking the vast potential of Kogi as much as the Ajaokuta Steel
He said, “I am glad to report that as we begin to round off in office, we can genuinely say that our administration has rescued Ajaokuta from all legal disabilities and it is now ready for concessioning to a private investor with the right profiles to put it to work for Nigeria in general and Kogi State in particular.
“The process has cost this Federal Government over $400m so far, but I consider it money well spent as we move closer to achieving our objective of transforming Kogi State into Nigeria’s iron and steel powerhouse.”
“The benefits of getting Ajaokuta Steel Complex working again are numerous. It would provide over 500,000 estimated jobs and more than $1.6bn (N716bn) in annual income to the Nigerian economy. Nigerians can rest assured that I remain committed to seeing this process to a logical conclusion before the end of my tenure in Office,” said the President.
According to him, Kogi State also stands to benefit in diverse ways when the 614 km AKK gas pipeline which traverses the state starts operations in 2023.
While commissioning at least six projects across the state, Buhari boasted the All Progressives Congress had fulfilled its electoral promises to Nigerians on both national and sub-national levels.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State informed Buhari that the projects inaugurated were in response to his commitment to serving the people.
He said since assuming office on January 27, 2016, his administration has constituted a multi-sectoral committee that went around the nooks and crannies of the state, identifying the needs of the people.
“This document has been our guide,” Bello stated.