President Muhammadu Buhari Friday said that the Federal Government would soon commence the construction of the 600-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline which would move gas from the Southern part of the country to the North.
The Nigerian leader, who disclosed this while addressing the 5th Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit at the Sipopo International Conference Hall, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, added that the viability of extending the gas pipeline to North Africa was also under consideration.
This is as he promised that leaders of neighbouring countries will work together to provide all necessary assistance to secure the Gulf of Guinea.
Speaking at a bilateral meeting with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, on the side line of the 2019 Gas Summit, Friday, in Malabo, President Buhari expressed concern on the rate of piracy, kidnapping and smuggling in the Gulf of Guinea, calling for more concerted effort to end the tide of illegality.
Describing the theme of the 5th GECF Summit, “Natural Gas – Energy for Sustainable Development,” while delivering his address, as most appropriate, President Buhari noted that the one-day meeting was “taking place at a critical juncture as global energy supply is transitioning from hydrocarbons to renewables.”
According to him, “The Paris Accord of 2015 signaled the first major global commitment to a deliberate effort on this inevitable transition,” stressing that “Nigeria is proud to be one of the first signatories” to the historic Agreement.
Explaining why Nigeria and GECF members are focusing on gas development, the Nigerian leader said:
“We are mindful of the energy deficit in the developing world especially, here in Africa where we have nearly 600 million people without access to modern energy. As responsible leaders, it is our duty to preserve the environment not only for the present but for future generations.
“We can achieve this balance between our energy deficit and environmental preservation needs by developing and deploying new technologies. Although classified as fossil fuel, natural gas is a viable solution to both our energy and environmental challenges.”
President Buhari noted further that “natural gas has the added advantage of availability and affordability,” stressing that, “to fully leverage this potential, nations need to pool resources to put up trans-border and trans-regional energy infrastructure.”
According to him, “we in Nigeria have led the way by the construction of the West Africa Gas Pipeline which runs through four West African countries.”
He also commended the foresight of the founding fathers of the GECF “in promoting natural gas in the global energy mix.”
Declaring the Summit open, the host, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, called on members of the GECF to continue to work in harmony towards the realisation of the objectives of the multinational organisation.
At his bilateral meeting with President Mbasogo, Buhari said, concerning securing the Gulf of Guinea, that “Our neighbourhood is very strong. Our Navy is doing a good job. We are going to give them equipment and make them more competent. We share the oil fields and so much in common.
“We will secure the Gulf absolutely.”
In agreement with Nguema that Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea will provide joint patrols, President Buhari added that it will be “more cost effective when we work together. We have to jointly protect ourselves.”
Buhari also held another meeting with the Secretary General of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Nigeria’s Sanusi Barkindo, where he was briefed on an important upcoming meeting of the organization in December.
The OPEC meeting will decide on the sharing output production quotas as the current agreement binding the members will run out in March 2020.
President Buhari assured that he will secure the best possible deal for the country at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Buhari Friday arrived Daura, Katsina State, after attending the 5th Summit of the GECF in Malabo.
He arrived the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport at 4.20 pm and was received by Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
The President, who is on a five-day official visit to the state, will on Monday participate in a ground breaking ceremony for the University of Transportation, Daura and commission the Kwanar Gwante (Shargalle Road), which is off Kano-Daura Road.
The specialized university, which will be built by CCECC Nigerian Ltd, will focus on research and development of human capital for the transport sector.
The President will depart Daura on Tuesday for Kaduna.