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Stakeholders demand early delivery of AKK gas pipeline project

Key stakeholders in the Nigerian economy have demanded urgent realisation of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project as potent strategy for rapid industrial development and economic diversification agenda.

Panellists drawn from the petroleum industry, academia, organized private sector and regulatory agencies who participated in a business webinar organised by Valuechain Magazine 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, Idris Bugaje, who sounded a note of urgency on realization of the project said: “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.

Bugaje pointed out that speedy delivery of the project would compensate for its late conceptualization, explaining that the AKK pipeline was coming 25 years late after numerous textile, manufacturing, and agricultural enterprises in the northern parts of the country collapsed under costly, unstable and inefficient industrial fuel.

He also linked the collapse and relocation of industries from northern Nigeria to Lagos with the rising spate of banditry and insurgency in the region. He also added that the social crisis in the northern part of the country was a result of worsening business environment and consequent surge in the number of unemployed youths.

He lamented that withering of industries, Boko Haram insurgency and growing banditry could be efficiently addressed by restoring industrial vibrancy in the region which, according to him, hosted the largest textile industries in the past.
He also noted that the military campaigns against insurgency have remained costly and ineffective because of the failure to adopt economic measures in the prevailing counter-insurgency efforts.

Bugaje while stressing the role of gas in economic growth and development,compared the poverty level and low industrial activity to the economic boom and industrial vibrancy in Lagos State which, according to him, has become the preferred regional investment hub due to abundance of gas flowing through robust distribution infrastructure to industrial clusters.

Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Regulation, Umar Gwandu, declared that challenges of cost and security which could encumber early delivery of the project have been addressed by the commercial nature of the pipeline operations when completed.

He made it clear that 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.

He pointed at the role AKK pipeline would play in rehabilitating moribund industries in northern Nigeria.

Managing Director of Oilserv Limited, the lead contractor in the project, Adegbite Falade, stated that the project could create 5000 direct jobs during its entire execution time frame, adding that it would also revive the Nigerian construction industry by involving credible subcontractors across the full project scope.

According to him, AKK pipeline project would provide the platform for building the manufacturing sector of the economy, grow the national gross domestic product, boost power generation by 3600 megawatts and ultimately commercialize Nigeria’s vast natural gas resources to generate revenue for government.

He reiterated the need for all stakeholders to seize full opportunity presented in the AKK pipeline project, arguing that benefits of the project would erase the incentives for banditry and insurgency through economic revival of the country.

The 614 kilometre AKK pipeline, according to the Publisher of Valuechain Magazine, Musa Bashir Usman, holds immense potential for industrialization of the country, creation of employment for Nigerian youths and reversion of deforestation through displacement of firewood as cooking fuel.

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