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Tribute to Engr. Idris Itopa Ibrahim Atta formal GM/CEO of Ajaokuta Steel Company

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Tribute to Engr. Idris Itopa Ibrahim Atta formal GM/CEO of Ajaokuta Steel Company

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By Prince Kabiru Onimisi Atta

Engr. Idris Ibrahim Atta was initially appointed acting General Manager and later became the GM/CEO of Ajaokuta Steel Company in 1984. His unwavering commitment to the company’s vision was demonstrated when he secured a N25,000 loan from Alh Kwajafa Manger Bank of the North to produce steel, amidst government funding issues. This achievement marked a historic milestone in steel production.

Engr. Atta was relentless in his efforts to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company. In 1998, I accompanied him to Minna to present his proposals to General Ibrahim Babangida. Over the years, he was frequently summoned to Aso Villa to present his paper, titled “The Way Forward for Ajaokuta Steel Project,” to various presidents (copies still available). However, it eventually became clear that the challenges to revitalizing Ajaokuta Steel Company went beyond the political will of multiple administrations.

Anyone familiar with the steel production ecosystem, its by-products, and the economic ripple effects on regional and international scales understands why successive governments have only paid lip service. Reviving Ajaokuta Steel became a political tool, invoked every election season to garner support.

Prince Kabiru Onimisi Atta

Engr. Atta’s dedication extended deeply into his community, ensuring employment for local Ebira and Kogi indigenes. Those who were of age at the time can recall the long lines of trailers transporting workers from Lafia in Okene to Ajaokuta. He also facilitated scholarship programs, allowing many locals to study electrical and mechanical engineering and participate in technical skill exchanges at various institutions in Russia. His legacy lives on through the progress and opportunities he created for Ajaokuta, the Ebira nation, and the people of Kogi State.

Continue to rest in peace, Dad.

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