President Muhammadu Buhari and King Mohammed VI of Morocco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the establishment of a gas pipeline to supply the product from Nigeria to Morocco and the West African sub-region.
Both countries are planning to extend the pipeline that has been pumping gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana since 2010 to Morocco.
Morocco's National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said: "For economic, political, legal and security reasons, the choice was made on a combined onshore and offshore route."
The pipeline, which would be built in phases, will measure some 5,660 kilometres (3,500 miles) and respond to the growing needs of the transit countries and Europe over the next 25 years," the agencies said.
President Buhari, who is in Morocco on a two-day working visit to Rabat, signed three agreements, including a regional gas pipeline that will see Nigeria providing gas to the West Africa sub-region, Morocco and Europe.
His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday, said the signing of the agreements followed a meeting between the two African leaders that focused on strengthening economic relations in gas resource development, global investments and agricultural training and management.
The feasibility study of the agreement on the pipeline, which was signed by the Group General Manager of the NNPC, FarouqSaid Garba and Director General of ONHYM, Mrs. Amina Benkhadra, will be concluded next month.
The Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) will reduce gas flaring in Nigeria and encourage diversification of energy resources in the country, while cutting down poverty through the creation of more job opportunities.
It would further encourage utilisation of gas in the sub-region for cooking and discourage desertification.
Garba said the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Authority, Uche Orji and the Chief Executive Officer of the Office of the Management of Phosphate in Morocco, Mostafa Terrab signed an MoU for the development of a chemical plant in Nigeria for producing ammonia and its derivatives.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh and his Moroccan counterpart, Aziz Akhannouch, also signed a cooperation agreement on vocational training and technical supervision, which would enhance skills on better management of agricultural outfits in Nigeria.
During an audience with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, Saadeddine Othmani, at the Royal Guest Palace, President Buhari said Nigeria's strongest selling point remained an "intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious" populace that would always seek self-improvement and self-actualization in any part of the world.
"Nigerians are intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious. I received some of our students here yesterday and I was really impressed with the zeal and fearlessness they exuded.
"In Nigeria, we have a very young and aggressive population and we are working very hard to create the enabling and inclusive environment for their contributions to be better appreciated," Buhari told Othmani.
He said his administration was harnessing the human and material resources available in Nigeria, especially in the educational and agricultural sectors, while seeking partnership with countries that can explore the huge potential in the country.
On the three agreements signed during his visit, namely, Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project, vocational training in agriculture and building of a chemical plant in Nigeria, Buhari assured the prime minister that they would receive appropriate attention.
The prime minister said his country had always been impressed by Nigeria's intellectual zeal and strength, noting that "many Moroccans appreciate the intellectual contribution of Nigerians, especially in literary works."
President Buhari also met with the head of the Moroccan legislature, Habib El Malki and the President of the Advisers on Commerce, Ben Chemmas.
The Nigerian leader ended his two-day visit to the Kingdom of Morocco with a visit to the mausoleum where he laid wreaths on the tombs of past kings.
The President returned to Abuja yesterday.