Director General and Chief Executive of the National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency, Mr. Kola Ogunbiyi has hailed the appointment of Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu as Minister of Steel Development by Nigeria's President His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, noting that the demerger of Mines and Steel will trigger development in the steel industry in Nigeria. Speaking during a recent chat at the agency's headquarters in Kaduna, the DG praised the President for the demerger which he said will facilitate increased activities and development in the sector.
Ogunbiyi said the appointment of Prince Audu is a breathe of fresh air in the steel sector, noting that activities in the sector have been limited by minimal government attention for many years. "The creation of the Ministry of Steel Development is going to serve as a catalyst to drive steel development in the country. We all know how important steel is to the industrialisation dream. In fact, it is the bedrock of industrialisation, and it should be developed for meaningful development to take place in the country.
"Having a proven technocrat and Oxford-trained Investment expert as Minister is a huge encouragement for us in the sector. For us at the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, we're extremely happy because this means steel development is a crucial focus of Mr President's Renewed Hope Agenda. We have been at the forefront of steel raw materials exploration. Perhaps, this is the time that we have been preparing for", he said.
The NSRMEA DG also reiterated his total belief in the new minister's abilities and commitment to the development of Nigeria's steel industry. "We have always called for Ajaokuta Steel Complex to become operational. Ajaokuta is at the heart of steel development in Nigeria. I believe the Hon. Minister, being an illustrous son of Kogi state, will pay attention to the operationalisation of the complex, because apart from providing jobs and facilitating industrialisation, it will boost the economy of the state as well", he added.
The creation of the Ministry of Steel Development was the result of a demerger of the former Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to create two new ministries; for Solid Minerals and for Steel Development. The move also led to the distribution of the agencies and parastatals under the ministry into the respective new ministries that they more closely associate with, seeing the NSRMEA fall under the Ministry of Steel Development.
Recall that Prince Audu was inaugurated as Minister of Steel Development on 21st August 2023 following his nomination by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and eventual screening and approval by the National Assembly. Ogunbiyi now hopes that this new dispensation will yield benefits for the steel sector, which will further enhance the agency's activities as Nigeria's only agency wholly dedicated to steel raw materials exploration.