The Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar has said that repositioning and revitalisation of Ajaokuta Steel Company will lead to the production of more military hardware necessary to support the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.
The Minister stated this while exchanging views with the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu and the Managing Director of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Mr. Sumaila Abdul Akaba at the Ship House in Abuja.
Badaru who applauded the commitment of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to resuscitate the steel company said that Ajaokuta Steel Company was known for the local production of Military hardware and that there was the need to partner with Ministry of Steel Development because 80/90 per cent of what is required for the production of Military hardware was Steel.
He said that strengthening the Company to produce Military hardware instead of relying on foreign production would boost the nation’s fight against insurgency and other related crimes.
“Local production of Military Hardware is critical because the crisis we have in the country at present will not allow us rely on other countries for Military hardware,” he said.
To actualize the revitalization of the Company, the Minister has directed that a Technical Committee be set up to determine what to produce, the raw materials to use, cost of reviving the production centre as well as to determine sources of funding.
He urged the Permanent Secretary, Director- General of Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria ( DICON) and the Managing- Director of Ajaokuta Steel Company as members of the Technical Committee to work vigorously and ambitiously and come up with a report on the way forward in two weeks time.
In his remarks, Prince Audu said that reviving Ajaokuta Steel would be a game changer to Nigerian Industry and the economy as a whole.
He said that due to paucity of funds, production was stalled, adding, “But I believe that if initiatives are put in place, Ajaokuta Steel will be revived and work will resume within the first four years of the Present Bola Tinubu’s administration”.
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He stated that the Company has about 48 production units and one of such units was for production of Military hardware, adding that if Ministry of Defence collaborate with the Company, it would have the capacity to produce Military Hardware that the nation will need.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar kana, said that the essence of the meeting was to take the discussion to the stages where the Company is and develop a step by step approach on how to actualize the dreams of reviving Ajaokuta Steel in the next four years.