…’Ajaokuta Steel Company ready for concessioning to private investor’
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Okene, Kogi State declared that the All Progressives Congress, APC, has delivered on the promises it made to Nigerians at all levels.
Speaking at the Palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, which he also commissioned as part of his one-day State Visit to the State, the President also said Governor Yahaya Bello had performed creditably in his two terms as governor .
“We are an administration that prides ourselves in the fulfillment of our electoral promises to the Nigerian people, at both national and sub-national levels. This is why I am glad that we have an impressive array of legacy projects through your own state government as proof of our stewardship of Kogi State.
“The APC administration has indelible footprints in Kogi State. Among the many projects executed by the Federal Government are; the Itakpe to Okene bypass, the Obajana to Kabba concrete road built by Dangote Industries Limited under our ‘roads for taxes initiate’ (Executive Order 7) and the Itakpe to Warri railway service, among others.
“I am very pleased to be here today to commission several projects executed by the administration of His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello,” he said.
President Buhari also spoke of the determination of his administration to position Kogi State as an industrial hub as well as a solid mineral power base, taking time to explain how the Federal Government achieved the resolution of all legal entanglements that had bogged down the progress of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex. He said the project stands to benefit the people of the State immensely.
The President added: “No other single project holds the key to unlocking this vast potential as much as the Ajaokuta Steel Complex which we inherited as a long moribund complex strangulating under a tangle of local and international commercial disputes.
“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 $1.6 billion 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.”
President Buhari said that Kogi State also stands to benefit in diverse ways when the 614 km (384 mile) AKK gas pipeline which traverses the State starts operations next year.
He commended Governor Yahaya Bello “for rising up to the occasion in many sectors especially security.”
He added: “We are proud of him and I encourage the people of Kogi State to continue to support him and his team as they are working hard to ensure peace, security and development in the state.”
Projects commissioned by the President included: the Reference Hospital Okene, which boasts of the first ever hyperbaric treatment chamber in Nigeria and the fleet of ambulances attached to it; the new Ohinoyi’s Palace at Okene; the Ganaja Junction Flyover and interchange at Lokoja; the GYB Model Science Secondary School, Adankolo, Lokoja; the Muhammadu Buhari Square (Civic Centre) at Lokoja; and a fleet of high – tech security vehicles to combat crimes and criminalities.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello thanked President Buhari for showing leadership and for the various programmes and interventions which had positively impacted on the State and her people.
These, the governor said, included the Itakpe – Warri Rail Line which he noted, had brought relief to travellers and business owners in the state.
Governor Bello informed President Buhari that the projects inaugurated were in response to his commitment to serve, stating that since his swearing – in on 27th January, 2016, his administration constituted a multi-sectoral committee that went round the nooks and crannies of the State, identifying the needs of the people.
“This document has been our guide,” the governor stated.
While acknowledging the commitment of President Buhari towards the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, the governor thanked the President for his unrelenting interest in the project.
Governor Bello also stated that his administration has a cordial relationship with the traditional institution in the State, stating that the new Ohinoyi’s Palace being commissioned by President Buhari was a testimony to this.
Earlier, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr Ibrahim Ado, represented by the Ohi of Okengwe, HRH, Alhaji Mohammed Tijjani Anage, on behalf of the traditional rulers of the Central Senatorial Zone of the state, thanked President Buhari for his support to Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration and for being the first sitting President of Nigeria to visit Kogi State on a working visit.