Russia Africa Summit: FG Promises Speedy Completion Of Ajaokuta Steel Company


The completion of Ajaokuta steel company is a major project that encourages the Federal Government to attend the Russia African Summit.

The Vice President, Kashim Shettima stated this while addressing the Nigerian communities in Russia at the end of the Russian Economic and Humanity Summit.

Shettima noted that the government is ready to partner at any level in all sectors for development.

He said, “I am here to assure the completion of the Ajaokuta company as Nigeria has sank about $10 billion dollars into that project.

“The project is about 97 percent completed. The steel company will be a game changer once completed. Having a vibrant steel industry is an essential component for industrialization in any nation and I can assure you that Tinubu’s administration will complete it.

“We will take most of you that have skills in applied sciences back home, and we will also take most of you that have excelled in different fields of education home to impact our national development. Our target is to employ 100,000 Nigerians into the digital Space.”

He urged the Nigerians in Diaspora to come back home and invest as the government is poised to provide an investment friendly environment.

On the embassy accommodation, the Vice President promised that the Tinubu led government will build a permanent accommodation for the embassy.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Abdullahi Shehu stated that with the new vision of renewed hope of Tinubu led government, the country will be repositioned.

Shehu appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the government, following the recent removal of fuel subsidy.

On his part, Sampson Uwem-Edimo, Chairman, Nigerians In Diaspora Organization, Russian Chapter (NIDO Russia) & MD/CEO of Trailtrans Group (operating in Russia, Eastern Europe and Middle East) noted that Africa, and Nigeria in particular has a chance of gaining technological sovereignty, harness opportunities for direct and expanded trade and investment, acquire knowledge for homeland development through technology transfer and education.

“These can be achieved during the period of rift between the technologically advanced countries. Africa has the potential of learning, imitating and implementing acquired skills at home. For these reasons, we propose that Nigeria should intensify dialogue with these countries including Russia, discussing ways of achieving set goals and engaging the policy makers in Russia to partner with us as we aspire to develop our country (we in NIDO are prepared to assist the Federal Government in achieving these goals).

“Nigerians living in Russia speak about the importance of our bilateral relation with great empathy; the reasons are psychological, as many have had the privilege to witness the cycle of transformation in Russia after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Many were fortunate to witness these changes and wish to replicate part of these in Nigeria. The Russia that emerged from the remnant of the USSR was very weak in terms of economy, infrastructure, and governance.

“The areas of cooperation are as elaborated below:  TECHNOLOGY: Nigeria needs to cooperate with Russia to attain some level of technological independence especially in the areas of equipment for the oil and gas industry, medicine, metallurgy, space, navigation, infrastructure and security. The cooperation should be mutually beneficial and should include transfer of knowledge to enable Nigerians manufacture, operate and maintain these equipment.

“Particularly, emphasis should be paid to metallurgy – Ajaokuta steel mill must be revitalized, as this will serve as the springboard for Nigeria’s industrial growth. It is also utmostly important that the basic technology that was used in the inception be maintained as a mixture of different technologies had proven to lead to confusion and deprive the country the ability of putting the products from this investment into industrial manufacturing.

“Recommendation: the Russians should be re-engaged to complete the facility as quickly as possible. Also for the project to function, avoiding the mistakes of the past, the federal government should appoint a patriotic and learned Nigerian with understanding of how the Russians operate to lead this project with a measurable timeline (as cultural dimensions will have a role to play).”

In his speech, Prof. Maurice Okoli, President, Nigerian Community in Russia, called on the Nigerian Government to leverage the opportunities provided by the Russia-Africa partnership forum to propel economic prosperity of the nation.

“We have high expectations from you and we believe you will be able to use your skills and expertise to make Nigeria a global success.

“We sincerely hope that the Vice President will use this opportunity to push forward Russia-Africa relations and specifically Russia-Nigerian economic cooperation’’, he said.

Photo: Abdullahi Shehu, Nigerian Ambassador to Russia and His Excellency Kashim Shettima, Nigeria Vice President at the Russia Africa Summit held in Russia.

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