The Nigerian Academy of Engineering has called on the federal government to resuscitate the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited in Kogi State, saying the facility remains critical to the nation's development.
The President of the academy, Prof. Lola Lasisi, made the call at its 2019 Annual Lecture, Life Achievement Award & Induction of New Fellows held at the University of Lagos, with the theme: "Fueling the Nigerian Economy: State of Domestic Refining and Distribution Facilities."
Lasisi, said the issue of Ajaokuta Steel company was discussed at the group's recent forum, adding that the challenges and solutions of the facility which have been on for decades became a critical outcome of the forum.
"The academy notes the importance of this critical extensive multi-dimensional facility to the national economic development and engineering community. Hence, the academy is working with various stakeholders in the sector to provide solution and advise the federal government to resuscitate the extensive facility," he said.
He explained that the lecture was another opportunity for the academy to address an issue of significant impact to our country's socio-economic development, stressing that "our choice of this topic is in furtherance of our avowed commitment to positively impact our economy and the socio-economic life of Nigerians".
Lasisi added: "The challenges of the effectiveness of refining impacts directly on our lives at all levels. We are in for a clear elucidation of the factors involved".
The guest lecturer, Mr. Afolabi Oladele, who during his presentation, showed huge losses and burdens arising from weak policies in the petrol refining process, distribution and importation, advised that "policy needs to be strengthened to reduce burden on government and be competitive to similar markets."
Oladele said the distribution system for petroleum products has continued to deteriorate due to pipeline vandalisation, adding that increased imports were becoming very expensive for the government.
The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of Life Achievement Awards to three distinguished members of the academy: Prof. S.O. Adeyemi, Prof. Sanmbo Balogun, and Prof. Buba Bajoga.
Also, 13 new fellows were inducted into the academy, among whom were the immediate past Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu and the out-going Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.