Ajaokuta Steel Mill To Start Military Hardware Production – Shuaibu Audu

by J.J Olawuyi

The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu, announced on Monday that the Federal Government is planning to initiate the production of military hardware at the Ajaokuta Steel Mill. The minister revealed ongoing collaborations with the Ministries of Defence and Works to revitalize the long-dormant steel plant, focusing on the production of iron rods and military equipment.

Audu shared these plans during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, expressing his commitment to work closely with the Minister of Defence, Alhaji Badaru, and the Minister of Works, Senator Umahi, to bolster the capabilities of Ajaokuta Steel Mill.

He outlined the vision, stating, “Whether it is helmets, bullets, vests, pads for tanks, rifles, ammunitions, we will be able to have the capacity to do that.” The Ajaokuta Steel Mill, constructed over 40 years ago, has faced operational challenges due to mismanagement by successive governments.

The minister emphasized the current administration’s determination to revitalize the light steel mill within the steel complex, projecting the production of iron rods. The estimated cost for the entire complex’s revival is between two to five billion dollars, with the light steel mill section requiring about N35 billion.

Notably, President Bola Tinubu has given approval for local fundraising efforts to revive the light steel mill section. Audu highlighted that the N35 billion investment would enable the steel plant to produce 50,000 tons of iron rods initially, with the capacity to increase to 400,000 tons.

Addressing the historical challenges faced by Ajaokuta Steel Mill, Audu cited the lack of political will as a significant obstacle. He commended President Tinubu for establishing a dedicated Steel Ministry, emphasizing the pivotal role it plays in the country’s industrial revolution. Previous concessions with inadequately skilled concessionaires contributed to the challenges, and Audu mentioned the termination of the recent concession with Global Steel, requiring a payment of about $496 million to the Indian company.

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