Key experts in the Nigerian economy have demanded urgent realization of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project as a potent strategy for rapid industrial development and economic diversification agenda.
Panelists drawn from the petroleum industry, academia, organized private sector and regulatory agencies who participated in a business webinar hosted by Valuechain Magazine on Tuesday, urged the federal government to expedite the realization of the full AKK project scope in order to provide the critical infrastructure for industrialization.
The Rector of the Kaduna Polytechnic, Prof. Idris Bugaje, who sounded a note of urgency on realization of the project declared that "AKK should be completed in 18 months" in order to pave way for activation of the second phase of the Trans-Nigeria gas pipeline which would run from Eastern Niger Delta through South-East and Middle Belt to North-East.
He said the speedy delivery of the project would compensate for its late conceptualization, explaining that the AKK pipeline was coming 25 years late after numerous enterprises in the north collapsed under costly, unstable and inefficient industrial fuel.
Managing Director of the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a unit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Seyi Omotowa, gave assurances that the project would be realized in good time, adding that a presidential inter-agency project management team was working with other stakeholders to overcome all failure factors.
He declared that the AKK pipeline is an NNPC project while the project loan is hedged against the corporation's revenue, with the government providing the required sovereign guarantee.
Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Regulation, Mr. Umar Gwandu, said the target was to ensure that domestic utilization of gas would ride on the overall infrastructure blueprint that involve the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS), West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), the AKK pipeline and eventual Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline.