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FG to commence production of military hardwares in Ajaokuta

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Left; His Excellency, Dr. Bello Matawalle, Minister of State for Defense and Right, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, Minister of Steel Development, during the meeting yesterday.

 By Victoria Onehi

The Federal Government has taken steps to begin the production of military hardwares in the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, as the Ministries of Steel Development and Defence are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation.

The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, and the Minister of State, Defence, His Excellency Dr. Bello Matawalle disclosed this after a meeting on Wednesday, at the Ministry of Defence, Abuja.

According to Prince Audu, the collaborations between both Ministries under his leadership and the Ministers of Defence will bring to fruition the vision of the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR geared at reviving the Ajaokuta Steel Complex for steel production for several purposes, including military hardwares.

The Minister of Steel Development said that the Ajaokuta Steel complex has various engineering workshops with the capacity to produce hardwares for the military under the Defence Industries Cooperation of Nigeria (DICON) Act.

“Today is a day that what we have all waited for under the renewed hope agenda with the coming to fruition of a partnership between both ministries, the Ministry of Steel Development and the Ministry of Defence.

“There are a number of things we have agreed on, including signing an MoU so that DICON and Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited can partner to produce military hardwares such as rifles, vests, helmets, and bullets, among other things, in the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

“Ajaokuta has the facility to also accommodate a military barracks. There are over 10,000 housing units in Ajaoukuta, of which only 3,000 to 4,000 are occupied.

 In a statement by the Head,Press and Public Relations Ministry of Steel Development Salamatu F. Jibaniya, the Minister said government will put together a quality Memorandum of Understanding that will be well implemented, and we are confident of the outcomes,” Audu said.

In his remarks, the Minister of State, Defence, said that all that has been agreed upon for the production of military hardwares and a Military Industrial Complex in Ajaokuta was in line with the renewed hope agenda of Mr. President.

Metawalle further assured Nigerians of the soon-to-be take-off of the Ajaokuta steel complex in maximum capacity, as he encouraged local partners to come on board.

Metawalle said that “today, we have agreed on so many things, including the review of the MoU signed in 2020 between DICON and the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), which would now be between both ministries (government to government).

 “Both Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries will come up with a draft agreement, and we will have continuous and regular meetings so that great ideas can be put together in the agreement.”. 

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development, Dr. Mary Ogbe, lauded both ministers for their commitments towards the revival of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

Ogbe also assured the ministers of their support as civil servants to their political will.

“If we have a common goal, we can achieve it. Nothing will make Nigerians happier than to see Ajaokuta come to light again.

On a similar note, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar Kana described the meeting as a landmark achievement which would bring forth monumental development to the steel industry and Defence architecture of the country.

Kana said that all hands would be on deck to actualize the agreement for the eventual production of military hardwares in Ajaokuta steel complex, and the establishment of a military industrial complex in Ajaokuta.

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