An envisaged resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant has been stalled by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite.
The building of the plant commenced in 1979 when President Shehu Shagari and his Russian counterpart, President Leonid Brezhnev signed a deal to build the plant.
The plant was conceived to be the largest of its type in Africa and it was expected to be the springboard for Nigeria’s technological advancement.
However, the building of the plant has been characterized by tales of woe and failed hopes, according to analysts.
Speaking at a news forum in Abuja on Saturday, February 28, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, lamented that plans by the Federal Government to resuscitate the plant had been stalled by the outbreak of COVID-19.
He said that the government had envisaged getting the plant running by 2022 but that the plan was stalled by the outbreak of COVID-19
He said the outbreak of the disease had delayed an agreement reached with the Russian government to commence work on the plant in the first quarter of last year.
The minister noted that the plant, which he described as an “unfortunate baby ” was close to completion, with all installed machinery still functional when the pandemic set in.
He, however, lauded the company’s workers for keeping the plant running and ensuring that the machinery was not vandalised, in spite of the plant not being operational.