He said this on Friday in Ajaokuta when the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite and the Senate Committee on Mines, Steel, Solid Mineral Development and Metallurgy visited the complex.
He said that the blast furnace and other equipment at the complex were not obsolete, adding that they are brand new and could be modernised.
According to to him, there are provisions to ensure upgrade and modernisation of the plants and other equipments at the complex every ten years.
“The plant we have here is brand new, it is rugged and simple, we have similar plant in Russia and it is about 150 years old.
“The plant furnace we have here has the same technology with the one in the United States, it has room for modernisation,” Sumaila said.
He added that there was, however, need for the Federal Government to speed up action on to resuscitate the complex which was 90 per cent completed to make it fully operational.
“I call on the Federal Government to come and complete, modernise and operate the complex,” he said.
Earlier, Sen. Tanko Almakura, the committee Chairman, said it was on a fact finding mission to ascertain the situation of things at Ajaokuta Steel Complex and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) in Itakpe.
Almakura, who was the immediate past Governor of Nasarawa State, said the National Assembly was ready to cooperate with the executive arm in making Ajaokuta Steel Complex fully operational again.
“We are here to look at what is on ground and to see the measures that have been taken and progress made to resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Complex, so we will know the next steps to take,” he said.
Adegbite said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was determined to resuscitate the complex and make it fully operational, but was being hindered by the COVID-19 lockdown.
He, however, said that the Federal Government would rely on money that had been pledged by Russians and Afrexim Bank to fix the complex and NIOMCO.
Adegbite said both the executive and the legislature were focused to ensure that the complex was resusistated and made to operate maximally.
“We have the same purpose and we are focused that this project is delivered to the benefit of Nigerians, the people of Kogi and to the glory of God,” he said.
He commended members of the committee for their encouragement and support, adding that there is a bright future for Nigerians when the complex is resusistated and start full-capacity production.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government is banking on Russians to resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Complex because they were its original builders.
Russians are pledging 450 million US dollars while Afrexim Bank is pledging 1 billion US dollars, totaling 1.45 billion US dollars to fix Ajaokuta and NIOMCO.
NAN further reports that the complex which is on 24,000 hectares of land in Ajaokuta, 38 kilometres from Lokoja the Kogi capital is tagged “Bedrock of Nigeria’s Industrialisation”.
The complex, conceived in 1976, was aimed at establishing a metallurgical process plant and engineering complex with other facilities.