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AKK: Kadpoly Webinar Educates Stakeholders

-By Saidu Abubakar

Following the recently launched gas pipeline laying project by President Mohammed Buhari from Ajaokuta through Abuja, Kaduna to Kano code-named AKK, various stakeholders in the country have welcomed and have been adding pep to the long overdue project. Among such stakeholders who recently made input were academics in a webinar organised by Professor Idris M. Bugaje, Rector of the famous Kaduna Polytechnic on 13th July, 2020.

The webinar which attracted professors from within Nigeria and the diaspora, brainstormed over the AKK project with a view to educating Nigerians and local investors on the potential benefits that stand to be derived if well harnessed.

The webinar entitled “AKK Gas Pipeline: An Infrastructural Milestone with Potentials to Catalyse Industrialisation and Job Creation in Nigeria” was well attended and discussed accordingly, according to a communique issued at the end of the webinar.

A welcome address was given by the President of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Engr. Alex Ogedegbe. He presented an insightful history of the AKK project. 

In his lucid keynote address, the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic, Professor Idris M. Bugaje highlighted the need as well as the importance of the project in the area of power generation, industrialisation and employment generation for Nigerians, stressing the need to engage our local engineers for sustainable actualisation of the project and its associated businesses.

The first panellist, Prof. Godwin Igwe, joined in from Delaware, USA. He highlighted the need to ensure the completion of the project first, and the associated merits of the project such as increase in power generation, domestic and industrial utilisation of the gas, decrease in the environmental impact of gas flaring and provision of opportunity to the local engineers for practice.

The second panellist, Engr. Babajide Soyode stressed the need to operate the project, upon completion, commercially because of the Chinese loan involved in funding the project.

The third panellist, Engr. Clement Oke, analysed the commercial viability of the project based upon the major users of the gas pipeline, which he mentioned as the power plants. He suggested that they should be available before completion of the AKK project. 

The communique also said that generally, the discussants suggested that the AKK gas pipeline project should be operated as a commercial venture, for it to be sustainable to the society, self-sustaining and then pay back the loan with which it was funded. They also recommended the following: 
• Due to the poor condition of the National grid, power generation should rely on mini-grids and not the National grid.

• Process industries like urea fertiliser plants that use the gas as raw material should be developed.

• Nigerian engineers should be allowed to partake in all the phases of actualisation of the project.

• Government’s non-interference, through gas price control, tax holidays or subsidy, is vital for business.

• AKK Gas Pipeline Company should be IMMEDIATELY set-up to commence marketing the potentials of the project to would-be investors.

• The construction of power plants should be IMMEDIATELY started; this will enable the utilisation of gas once the project is completed and its operation commences.

• Institutions like the Kaduna Polytechnic should also commence the training of engineers relevant to sustaining the project.

• IMMEDIATELY, load study and the power evacuation study of the power plants should be carried out (as part of the feasibility study of the project); a lack of it may result to inability to evacuate power from the generating power plant.

• More efficient use of the gas project could be realised by collaboration between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Nigerian Society of Engineers, the AKK states (Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Niger and Federal Capital Territory), private (local/foreign) investors and other stakeholders.