Geoscientists implore Buhari to revive Ajaokuta steel, Itakpe iron coys

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ABUJA – President-elect, Buhari has been called upon to revive Ajaokuta Steel and Itakpe National Iron Ore Mining Companies when he assumes office.
Prof. Olugbenga Okunlola, President, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), made the call at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Okunlola, the companies have the potentials to serve as the backbone for economic diversification and industrialisation of the country.
He the incoming administration to pay adequate attention to solid minerals sector in view of the revenue challenges confronting the country as a mono-resource economy.
said that the oil and gas sector should be regarded as the alternate rather the cash cow of the nation.
“The potential of the solid minerals sector is overwhelming and diverse; the diversity enables it to have the capacity to absorb any economic shock locally and globally.
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“A nation that has more than 36 mineral types in about 8,000 locations and counting has no reason to complain about the poor state of the economy’’, he said.
The president said that the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, the Nigerian Steel and Raw Materials Agency, the Mining Cadastre Office and the ministry, should be adequately equipped.
He said if the vast limestone and carbonate deposits were developed, less than 100 or more cement factories would become operational in at least 15 states in the country.
Okunlola said if coal, shale and clay, gold, iron, tantalite, tin, columbite and other minerals were developed, Nigeria would probably qualify to join the industrialised nations.
He said that the neglect of the sector was borne out of ignorance, noting that the undue reliance on oil and gas had been a mistake and be stopped.
“The road to sustainable industrialisation begins the development of the sector.
“Our association is ready to partner with the new government to actualise its vision of developing the sector; we have the expertise, experience and are willing to sacrifice our time.’’
He appealed to the president-elect to appoint either a geoscientist or a mining engineer to head the ministry for rapid development of the sector.
Okunlola urged Buhari to play a more forceful role in the control of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to defend the interest of the members
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