NUMW to FG: Exercise political will by setting date for commissioning of ASCO

Comr Hamza Muhammad

The Nigerian Union of Mine Workers (NUMW) says the Federal Government should do more than it is currently doing to restore Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO) and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) to productivity, stating that protracted delays in operate the steel complex has impoverished thousands of its members as some lost their jobs while many more who could have been employed were not employed as a result of the comatose state of the establishment.

President of the Union, Comrade Hamza Muhammad who spoke in Abuja, during the recent National Conference on Ajaokuta Steel Project and President Muhammadu Buhari Industrialization Agenda, said this government made some efforts by constituting special purpose committees involving the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Ministers of Mines and Steel Development among others. He however noted that the political will should include setting a tentative date for the kicking of the rolling mills, adding that committees have not achieved much in the six years of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“This government has being in power for six years, and has barely two more years to go,” Hamza said, noting that the administration should determine a date and work with stakeholders to realize the set goal.

He said “sometime when a goal is set, it should be include a particular date as it will enable you to review your progress and know if you are hitting the target,” stating that the governments of nations are powerful, and if they determine to achieve a goal and set a definite date for it, they should be able to achieve it.
Hamza grievously lamented the rising unemployment in the country, noting that industrialization is the key to create sustainable jobs and get Nigeria into the committee of powerful nations in the world.

“Yes, I believe that Nigeria can be a Superpower, but we need to be more proactive in the steps to take towards industrializing the country,” he said, adding that international conspiracy may have retarded the realization of Nigeria’s set goals of industrialization.

“Although the problem did not begin with this government, but I wish that the Buhari Administration can make a great name for itself by revitalizing ASCO and NIOMCO,” he said, noting that “if the administration solves that problem, it would have written its name in gold forever.

“I acknowledge that government has made some efforts via committees and visitations to the ASCO and NIOMCO, and some other things they are doing,” he said but added that “such committees are not new to us in the sector, and what we really want to see is the realization of the goal: We want the rolling mills of ASCO to start producing, and we want miners to begin to mine the Iron Ore fields at Itakpe (NIOMCO),” Comr Hamza added.

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