President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Gas (AKK) gas pipeline project remained dear to the people of Nigeria and must succeed.
Buhari said this while speaking at the virtual flag-off ceremony of the project at the Ajaokuta, Kogi State and Rigachikun, Kaduna State camp sites simultaneously.
Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna flagged off the commencement of works at Ajaokuta and Rigachikun sites, while the President watched remotely via video-conference from the Council Chamber in Abuja.
The President, who directed the NNPC and partners to remain focused, said the AKK project was part of the delivery of the present administration's Next Level Agenda for sustainable development, enhancement of economic prosperity and increase of the country's infrastructure assets.
He expressed government's commitment to ensure timely delivery of the landmark gas pipeline project within budgetary allocation and specifications.
"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 industrialize and energize the entrepreneurial spirit that is ever present in our population," the President added.
On the benefits of the project scheduled for completion in two years, Buhari said it would provide gas for generation of power and for gas-based industries and facilitate the development of new industries.
The President said it will also ensure the revival of moribund industries along transit towns in Kogi State, Abuja (FCT), Niger State, Kaduna State and Kano State, adding that the cascading effect and impact of the AKK, when operational, will be immeasurable.
He appealed to 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.
The President lauded the government of the People's Republic of China; the financiers the Bank of China and SINOSURE; and the two EPC Contractors (Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau-CPP Consortia and Oilserve/China First Highway Engineering Company-CFHEC Consortia) for their support to deliver the important project.
In his remarks, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, said the AKK gas pipeline project, which is part of the Trans-Nigeria gas pipeline project, involved the establishment of a connecting gas pipeline network that will integrate the Northern region of the country with the Niger Delta, Eastern and Western regions of the Country.
Kyari said the EPC contract for the 614km AKK gas pipeline project was awarded at a total contract sum of US$2.592 billion to Messrs. Oilserv Plc/China First Highway Engineering Company (Oilserv/CFHEC Consortium) for the first segment covering 303km.