Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited is 45 years old. That makes it the oldest steel company in Nigeria.
I guess you’ve heard about the oldest man in the world but I can bet you’ve never heard about the oldest steel company in the world and talk more of the oldest steel company in Nigeria.
Steel plays a vital role in industrialization. It is used in building infrastructures like roads, houses and many facilities. When the steel is of high quality, it can be exported and that is a major source of foreign exchange earnings. That is the reason why Nigeria decided to build her own steel company. However, that dream seem to be a mirage as after 45 years, the project has not been completed.
The company is large and it has an airstrip allowing guests, especially foreign expatriates, to come in with ease. Also, it has an admin complex that houses all its administrative staffs. In addition, it has over 3000 employed staffs, a massive one with the potential of employing up to 10,000 people. It stands on a land of 800 hectares.
Since 1979 when the contract for the construction of the Ajaokuta steel company was signed by the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the president in Nigeria’s second republic, there have been high hopes that the project will be Africa’s pride.
Ajaokuta steel company was 98% completed in 1999. However it has remained at 98% ever since despite successive administrations efforts to get it working.
The company is named after the local government where it was founded, “Ajaokuta.” Ajaokuta is one of the 21 local government areas in Kogi State that hosts the largest steel company in Nigeria and the oldest.
Many international companies have made contracts with the Nigerian government to complete the company but to no avail. During electioneering campaigns, politicians make promises about completing the projects but the challenges are enormous. They mostly leave office without completing it.
Little wonder, the company remains uncompleted after so many years. There are even fears that the project will be abandoned. However, despite its moribund status, it remains the oldest steel company in Nigeria.