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Asks Lasisi Kazeem Adebisi
I saw this manhole cover on a sewerage line at Area 8, Garki-Abuja. What came to my mind when I read the inscription “NIGERIA MACHINE TOOLS” (NMT) was Osogbo. The dying engineering giant production company in the sleepy town of Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
First and foremost, I came across Nigeria Machine Tools in my professional training in October 1994 during my Student’s Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) programme at the comatose Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited, Kaduna. At the machine shop were discs and drums for all brands of Peugeot cars, 504, SR, GR, SW and 505 SR Evolution were machined to finish. Those cars were the pick of automobile luxury as at then.
The discs and brake drums were semi finished products supplied from Nigeria Machine Tools, Osogbo.
PAN on the other hand was to machine them with their state of mind the arts machines to desired end products. PAN used to have one of the best metallurgical laboratories in Nigeria back then. The raw materials supplied by NMT would be subjected to their working temperature and pressure, stress, strain and shere, torsion and compressive forces in their lab before acceptance.
Well, PAN is run aground today. The supplies to PAN from NMT and other companies stopped. But, there is demand for manhole cover everywhere! And the only business concern enjoying the “monopoly is Nigerian Foundries. I had little interaction with them when CCECC wanted their manhole cover for numerous manholes at their construction site at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. What crossed my mind was NMT, Osogbo.
Behold, a petition has been submitted to Nigerian hallow chamber of the Senate by our indefatigable Senator Ajibola Basiru on behalf of the people of Osun Central in particular and Osun State in general. How kind could that be if the duo of Osogbo Steel Rolling Company (OSRC) and NMT can be brought back to life?
The whole of Osun State has one company where about 500 people can work at once. Both NMT and steel rolling mill can provide direct employment for over 2,000 people and over 10,000 indirect employments. We have taken a giant step to have submitted a petition. Our senator should galvanize this by forming a synergy with like minds in the National Assembly especially the Southwestern senators and honorable members so that these two industries can be revamped and go back to production.
*Adebisi, a Development analyst, wrote in from Abuja
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