The Federal Government has appointed Abdul-Akaba Sumaila, as the Acting Sole Administrator of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex (ALSCON).
Sumaila replaces Joseph Isah, who retired from the civil service in September 2017, having attained the mandatory 35 years in service.
Announcing the appointment in a statement, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi through his Special Assistant on Media, Olayinka Oyebode, said Sumaila’s appointment takes immediate effect.
Abdul-Akaba Sumaila was until his appointment, a Senior Advisor, Government Relations with Shell Petroleum Development Company.
A trained engineer and project manager, Sumaila is a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, from the University of Ilorin and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Business School Netherlands.
The Ajaokuta Steel Complex which is Nigeria’s only aluminium smelting plant, was shut down in 2014 following crippling protests embarked upon by the company’s staff against poor working conditions, dwindling productivity and spiraling debts.
The management of ALSCON, Russian aluminium giant, United Company RUSAL PLC, dismissed almost all local personnel of its workforce, while the Ajaokuta Steel Company has been moribund for years.
Earlier in October, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development had announced plans by the Federal Government to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company for a second time.
Addressing pressmen after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Kayode Fayemi disclosed that the government had appointed an adviser for the steel plant and had also appointed a new leadership at the expiration of the tenure of the last.
The minister also stated that efforts were on to ensure a solution to the sale of the Aluminium Smelting Company in Ikot Abasi. He said:
“The President asked for an update on Ajaokuta and the Aluminium Smelting Company in Ikot Abasi. I came to brief Mr. President on the development to ensure that these companies are back to life.
“I told him about the efforts that Mr. Vice President has been making in ensuring that we have a definitive solution to the sale of Aluminium Smelting Company in Ikot Abasi, and that we also move forward in the resolution and agreement reached on Ajaokuta Steel so that we get ready for the second concession.
“We have appointed an adviser, we have appointed a new leadership there because the term of the last leadership has expired. Those were the things we updated Mr. President on.”
The minister stated that the government was emphasizing solid minerals development as a vehicle for diversification of the nation’s economy. He added that mineral resources had contributed significantly to the GDP and revenue.
“This year alone we have exceeded the target given to us. If you look at the Bureau of Statistics report you will see that the two sectors that have contributed immensely to the GDP is agriculture and solid minerals.
While stating that mineral resources had been contributing significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, Fayemi said his ministry had already exceeded its target for the year.