Russian Firm Seeks FG Approval to Revive Ajaokuta Steel Mill

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A Russian firm, MetProm Group has submitted a proposal to the Federal Government for the rehabilitation of the long abandoned Ajaokuta Steel.

This was made known in a meeting between a delegation of Russian officials and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

The Russian officials were led by Ambassador of Russia to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshir while the Nigerian Ministry was represented by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, and the Minister of State, Uche Ogah.

Sources said that the company has planned to not only rehabilitate the steel mill, but also maintain it when fully operational.

It could  be recalled that the Ajaokuta steel mill was originally built by a Russian company, TyazhPromExport (TPE) which was later jettisoned in 2016 by the Federal Government when it became very obvious that the company didn’t want to complete the steel mill according to the former Minister of Mines and Steel Development and current Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Fayemi’s statement was, however, countered by the Russian embassy, which insisted at the time that TPE was still interested in the project.

Moreover, findings have shown that that majority of the engineers of MetProm Group worked with TPE at Ajaokuta Steel Complex before the arrangement between the Russian company and the Federal Government broke down.

In a bid to ensure smooth completion of the steel mill, Russian Deputy Head of Mission, Trade and Economic Affairs, Valery Shaposhnikov urged both parties to forget the bitter past and key into the new offer that would bring the steel complex to full operations. He expressed optimism that having the engineers who are familiar with the project would make its full implementation smooth.

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“I honestly do not see much use in muddling about with conjectures of the past. What matters now is an offer by a reliable Russian company, MetProm Group, to put the mill into operation. Many of MetProm experts had worked with TPE at Ajaokuta complex in the past.  The company (MetProm Group) comes with a profound expertise in modern heavy industry and in the Ajaokuta case in particular,” Shaposhnikov said.

Meanwhile, MetProm Group, on its website, describes itself as “recognised leaders in designing projects in metallurgy, supply of equipment, execution of construction and erection works and erection of equipment up to reaching the design capacity.”

Shaposhnikov said the onus lies on Nigeria to either agree to accept or reject the offer.

“It will depend on the agreement. The Nigerian side will define the strategy and the order of work,” he said.

Samson Oyedeyi

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