President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari yesterday inaugurated $2.8 billion Abuja-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project, with disclosures that the contract would create jobs, enhance technology transfer and boost local manufacturing.
Sharing the president’s optimism, the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, said the project has the capacity to generate 3,600 megawatts of electricity.
The president pledged the federal government’s commitment to timely delivery of the project within budgetary allocation and specifications.
The president, who made this commitment at the virtual inauguration ceremony of the project at Ajaokuta, Kogi State and Rigachikun, Kaduna State camp sites simultaneously, said the project was strategic for Nigerians and hence, must succeed.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the president charged NNPC and its partners to remain focused, describing the AKK project as part and parcel of the delivery of the present administration’s next level agenda for sustainable development, enhancement of economic prosperity and an increase in the country’s infrastructure assets.
Adesina said Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna physically inaugurated the projects at both Ajaokuta and Rigachikun sites, while the president watched remotely via video-conference from the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja.
‘‘We promised the nation that we will expand the critical gas infrastructure in the country to promote the use of gas in the domestic market. These include the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System – 2 (ELPS-2), Obiafu to Obrikom (OB3) pipeline and AKK.
‘‘These projects are fundamental to our desire to industrialise and energise the entrepreneurial spirit that is ever present in our population,” Buhari said.
Adesina said the president highlighted the benefits of the project with a completion period of two years, saying it would provide gas for power generation and gas-based industries that would facilitate the development of new industries.
He also said the project would ensure the revival of moribund industries along transit towns in Kogi State, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Niger, Kaduna and Kano states, with the unquantifiable output when the project finally takes off.
‘‘It has significant job creation potential both direct and indirect, while fostering the development and utilisation of local skills and manpower, technology transfer and promotion of local manufacturing,’’ the president said.
Buhari, who said Nigeria had learnt huge lessons from the global COVID-19 pandemic, disclosed that some oil-rich countries had used their crude oil as the platform for economic and industrial diversification.
The president described the pandemic as another justification for federal government’s pursuit of export substitution initiatives and projects meant to promote local manufacturing.
Buhari used the occasion to challenge the private sector to champion the efforts for optimal use of the nation’s gas resources, pointing out that the private sector has what it requires to create a petrochemical hub aimed at resurrecting the manufacturing industry and putting the country on the path of increased self-sufficiency.
He said: ‘‘As the world evolves, we owe our people the responsibility to prepare them for what the future holds. We, therefore, must be bold and fearless and can no longer be incremental in our approach.
‘‘Today marks an important chapter in the history of our great nation. It marks the day when our domestic natural gas pipeline networks, from Obiafu in Rivers State, Escravos in Delta State and Lekki in Lagos State, are being connected through Kaduna to Kano States thereby enhancing national energy security, creating balanced development, and further integrating our nation.”
Buhari appealed to the governors of Kogi, Niger, Kaduna and Kano states as well as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to provide the enabling environment and support for the project.