President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the delivery of the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline project, is part of his administration’s next level agenda for sustainable development and economic prosperity of Nigeria.

Stating this on Tuesday while flagging off construction works on the AKK project via virtual link from the State House in Abuja to two locations in Ajaokuta in Kogi State and Rigachukun, Kaduna State, Buhari said when completed the project would provide gas for generation of power and feedstock for gas-based industries, and also facilitate the revival of moribund industries and the development of new ones along transit towns in Kogi State, Abuja (FCT), Niger State, Kaduna State and Kano State.

The President noted that harnessing and commercialising the nation’s vast gas reserves was an enabler for rapid economic development and diversification of the economy, saying that this remained a cardinal objective of his administration’s drive towards ensuring a stable, sustainable and more prosperous future for the citizenry.

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“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 further enhancing national energy security”, he said.

Buhari stated that the project will create numerous direct and indirect employment opportunities while fostering the development and utilization of local skills and manpower, technology transfer and promotion of local manufacturing.

“We promised the nation that we will expand the key 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 – Obrikom – Oben (OB3) pipeline and the AKK. I therefore directed NNPC to ensure that these critical projects are completed on time, within budget and specification”, he said. 

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He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other stakeholders for bracing the odds of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic to kick-start the construction phase of the project. President Buhari remarked that the lessons learnt from the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic further underscored the drive of his administration for export substitution initiatives and projects that will promote local manufacturing.

He thanked the government of the peoples Republic China, the Bank of China and SINOSURE, the two Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) Contractors – Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau-CPP Consortium and Oilserve/China First Highway Engineering Company-CFHEC Consortium, for their support and commitment to deliver the project.

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The President called on the governors of Kogi, Niger, Kaduna and Kano States, as well as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, to provide the enabling environment and support for the project.

Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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