I am delighted to address you today on the occasion of the flag off of the construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project. This landmark project is being developed at a critical time in Nigeria’s commitment to increasing our infrastructure assets.

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. Hence, I had directed NNPC to ensure that these milestone projects are completed on time, within budgetary allocation and as per specifications.

When completed, the AKK Gas Pipeline Project will provide gas for generation of power and for gas-based industries which would facilitate the development of new industries and also the revival of moribund industries along transit towns in Kogi State, Abuja (FCT), Niger State, Kaduna State and Kano State.

When operational, the cascading effect and impact of the project will be immeasurable. It has significant job creation potential both direct and indirect, while fostering the development and utilization of local skills and manpower, technology transfer and promotion of local manufacturing.

The project is therefore part of the delivery of our Next Level Agenda for sustainable development and enhancement of the economic prosperity of our country.

One of the lessons learnt from the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) Pandemic further underscores the drive of this Administration for export substitution initiatives and projects that will promote local manufacturing.

We must also learn lessons from other countries who have methodically made the transition from oil rich countries and used their crude as a pathway to economic and industrial diversification.

In particular, gulf countries who have similar levels of gas reserves as Nigeria, have a strategy centered around gas-industrialization as their foundation towards export diversification. This has to be our guiding principle as we seek to attract investment and create opportunities for our people.

In this regard, I challenge our private sector to lead the charge in maximizing our gas resources to create a petrochemical hub that will resurrect not only our manufacturing capacity but place us squarely on the path to increased self-sufficiency.

As the world evolves, we owe our people the responsibility to prepare them for what the future holds. We therefore must be bold and fearless and can no longer be incremental in our approach.

Time is short, and our people’s zeal is strong and palpable. Infrastructure development although long, tedious and complex remains a cardinal objective of our Administration’s drive towards ensuring a stable, sustainable and more prosperous future for our citizenry.

Today marks an important chapter in the history of our great Nation. It marks the day when our domestic natural gas pipeline networks; from Obiafu in Rivers State, Escravos in Delta State and Lekki in Lagos State, are being connected through Kaduna to Kano States thereby enhancing national energy security, creating balanced development, and further integrating our nation.

I would like to commend the Government of the Peoples Republic of China; our 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 your support to deliver this important project. THIS PROJECT IS DEAR TO THE PEOPLE OF NIGERIA AND MUST SUCCEED.

I congratulate the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC and all relevant Stakeholders on this historic and epoch-making occasion. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the resilience of the team to deliver on this project is commendable.

I also urge all the stakeholders to continue providing the required support so that this landmark project can be actualized within the approved budget and schedule.

Finally, I am counting on the Executive 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.

It is my honour to flag off the start of the Construction Phase of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline Project today at the Ajaokuta, Kogi State and the Rigachikun, Kaduna State Camp Sites simultaneously and hereby declare the commencement of construction activities.

At the same time, the Executive Governors of Kogi and Kaduna States are to physically flag-off the commencement of works at Ajaokuta and Rigachikun sites on my behalf.

Thank you all for your commitment and resolve. For those that journeyed from far to attend this event, I wish you all a safe trip back to your respective stations. This has been a good day for Nigeria’s development, evolution and integration.

God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.