By Florence Onuegbu
The Iron Rod and Steel Dealers Employers Union of Nigeria has urged the new Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel Mill.
The National President of the union, Chief Gbenga Awoyale, in a statement issued in Lagos, commended the redeployment of Saraki to the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel.
Awoyale described the move as a welcome development.
The unionist, however, urged Saraki to dedicate her focus on ways to rally financial and technical support, that would facilitate the resuscitation of Ajaokuta, Jos, Oshogbo, Delta and Katsina steel rolling mills.
He said that some of these mills had not been active for more than 20 years, in spite of the concession of some of them to managers.
According to him, government has to ensure that the concessioners get these mills working, or revoke and re-award the concession to other interested persons.
”The country is saturated with substandard iron rods now because our local mills are dysfunctional.
”The union is confident in the capability of the former Minister of State for Transportation – Sen. Saraki, to champion the resuscitation and development of the mines and steel industry in Nigeria,” he said.
The president added that Sen. Saraki would ensure the availability of quality steel products and enhance economic development.
”It is with great pleasure that the Iron Rod and Steel Dealers Employers Union of Nigeria received the news of the redeployment of Sen. Gbemisola Ruqoyyah Saraki as the Minister of State for Mines and Steel.
”Considering her track record of excellent delivery as a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, the Nigerian Senate and lately, Minister of State for Transportation, we are confident, she would deploy her magic wand in tackling the seemingly insurmountable challenges of the Nigeria steel industry.
”As a leading advocate and partners in the war against substandard steel products in Nigeria, a menace that has led to several building collapse and loss of several lives, we want to assure you of our readiness to partner with your good office in the noble course,” he said.
Awoyale implored Saraki to work assiduously with other stakeholders to ensure the Federal Government resuscitated all moribund steel rolling mills in the country.
He also tasked her on employment creation, tackling the rising inflation trend, enhancing Nigeria’s economic growth and a drastic reduction in the menace of substandard steel products.
”We congratulate the Hon. Minister of State for Mines and Steel and wish her a fulfilling tenure in office,” Awoyale said. (NAN)