By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The Minister of State, Ministry of Steel Development, His Excellency Uba Maigari Ahmadu has pledged the Federal Government’s readiness to ensure it bequests a legacy of a developed and functional Steel Sector to Nigerians for economic growth, development and a thriving future.
The Honourable Minister, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Steel Development/Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Mary A Ogbe, made the disclosure in Kaduna during a One – Day familiarisation tour of the National Steel Raw materials Exploration Agency, (NSRMEA), on Monday, 13th November, 2023.
The Minister, while stating the crucial role the steel sector plays in the industrialization of any nation, emphasized the pivotal role of the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency. He noted that the pursuit of steel raw materials is not merely an industrial endeavor. According to him, it is a cornerstone of progress, solid foundation for infrastructure, innovation, and national development, adding that the untapped resources of the country, holds the threshold of potential prosperity.
Speaking further, Uba Maigari Ahmadu disclosed that the agency’s dedication to exploration, innovation, and sustainable mining practices holds the key to unlocking the nation’s treasures and assured of the Ministry’s commitment and support to enhance, and propel the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency forward. He noted that with the backing of the Federal Government, the Ministry aims to foster partnerships, invest in research, and encourage a thriving ecosystem that enables the sustainable development of the nation’s mineral resources.
In her remarks, Dr. Mary A Ogbe, stressed the Ministry’s commitment to ensure that the Steel Sector is revived and made to function optimally, opining that the Ministry has capable Ministers who are geared towards delivering on their mandate. She solicited the support of all stakeholders to put in their best efforts to achieve the comeback of the sector.
Earlier in his address, the DG/CEO, National Steel Raw materials Exploration Agency, (NSRMEA), Kolawole Ogunbiyi, disclosed that the Obi- Lafia Coal in Nasarawa State needed to be fully developed for it to be economically minable. He noted that in-seam exploration has to be carried out to determine the feasibility of mining the coal resources and bulk sampling for pilot testing and laboratory tests and analysis to enable the Agency ascertain the suitability of the coal for use to feed the Ajaokuta Steel coke ovens.
Ogunbiyi disclosed that if the Steel Sector is given optimal attention, domestic steel production will gradually replace foreign imports of steel which will help in shoring foreign reserves for the country. He appealed to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Steel Development, to provide a Special Intervention Fund to complete the Obi-Lafia coal project. He reiterated that if the coal project is fully developed, it would help to reduce the importation of cooking coal..