… As NNPC Goes Into Strategic Partnership with NEPAD Nigeria and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission

Hope for the realization of the vision for the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, which is expected to deliver Nigerian gas to parts of Europe through some African corridors, got a boost, Thursday, in Abuja when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the duo of NEPAD Nigeria and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) agreed to a strategic partnership.

National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, who described as huge the opportunities the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline project stands to offer to the African people in the areas of youth employment and general empowerment, during a courtesy visit to the GMD of the NNPC used the occasion to to urge the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to leverage upon its present effort in the Oil and Gas industry to ensure that the dream of the Continental project did not die.

Addressing her host on the occasion, Princess Akobundu further said the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline was a vision by the African leaders to enhance Trans-saharan trade and cooperation and to make for greater integration among African States and their nationals. This, the NEPAD Nigeria boss said was one of the mandate of NEPAD, delivery which the Agency is, usually, expected to report at the African Union in its periodic sessions.

Also speaking on the occasion, the Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Alhaji Aminu Dikko, who led a team of the Commission’s Management to the meeting, called on the GMD of the NNPC to explore the goodwill of the Federal Government towards realizing the objectives of the project, adding that the project, which had gulped some funds had equally shown itself as viable.

While suing for synergy by all necessary stakeholders to deliver on the pipeline project, which he informed Nigeria had been specially selected by the African Union to execute, Alhaji Dikko commended the enthusiasm and hard work of the current Management of NEPAD Nigeria for its vigorous pursuit of the pipeline project which is in line with the mandate of NEPAD as the project is key and the central to African integration.

Responding, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru applauded the efforts of the NEPAD Nigeria and the great collaboration it was pushing to make real the dream of the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline project. He, however, informed the visiting Agencies of the legal requirements for Nigeria’s National Assembly to ratify the project as has been done by its Nigerian counterpart before the project would head for completion. Dr. Baru expressed hope that the new collaboration and efforts of the different Agencies that had come to partner with the NNPC, hope was clearly in sight for the project.

The GMD used the occasion to also inform his visitors of the many strides that were being made at the NNPC in order to place the corporation on the path of efficiency and increased domestic supply of oil. He also revealed that, as part of the MOU signed with the Moroccan Government on cooperation in Oil and Gas resources, the first shipment of phosphates from Morocco, which would serve eleven fertilizer blending plants had arrived Nigeria and, apart from ensuring that more fertilizer would be made available to local farmers, it would provide over 20,000 jobs to the nation’s labour market.

Among those who were part of the visiting joint team from NEPAD Nigeria and ICRC were some directors from the Agencies. These include: Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim of NEPAD Nigeria’s Department of Planning, Research and Statistics and Ayo Folayan of Department of Programmes Development and Implementation. Others are Prof. Ken Ife, NEPAD Nigeria Chief Economic Strategist, and Dr. Prince Charles Onuoha and Sarki Wakili, both of NEPAD Nigeria’s Economic Team. The ICRC DG was also accompanied by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Kolade Sofola and others.

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