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.

Describing the theme of the Summit, Natural Gas – Energy for Sustainable Development 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 signalled 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.”

President Buhari 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.

By Suraj Na’iya Kududdufawa.

President Muhammadu Buhari attends 2019 E-Nigeria International Conference, award and exhibition in Abuja on 28th November 2019.

All what president Buhari said are as follows:

1. I am delighted to participate in this Opening Ceremony of the 2019 e-Nigeria Conference, Exhibition and Awards.

2. Globally, the Digital Economy is expanding at a very fast pace. In just a few years, this platform has transitioned from being a luxury to an absolute necessity. It is in recognition of this fact that we decided to re-designate the Federal Ministry of Communications as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy with a mandate to develop and implement a harmonized and well-coordinated digital economy policy and strategy for Nigeria.

3. The second quarter report by the National Bureau of Statistics for 2019 showed that the Information and Communications Technology sector contributed an impressive 13.85% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria. This clearly shows the importance and potential of the ICT sector to our job creation and economic diversification agenda.

4. Already, Nigerian ICT startups are leaving their mark on the global stage. For example, at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition GITEX, a Nigerian Artificial Intelligence solution provider, Chiniki Guards, took first place, beating 750 contestants from 73 countries. We shall continue to encourage and support such digital entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions for local and global challenges.

5. In public service, the digitisation of key activities such as the use of the Bank Verification Number BVN, Treasury Single Account TSA and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) has enabled us to save cost and fight corruption.

6. Of course, as we celebrate the successes and explore the opportunities in this sector, we must remain mindful of its threats. We all know how the use of unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards by terrorists is a key national security threat.

7. Today, I am informed that over 9.2 million SIM cards have either been normalized, blocked or deactivated in less than 40 days due to improper registration. We encourage all Nigerians to ensure that their phones are properly registered. As a Government, our priority is to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians.

8. Ladies and Gentlemen, you will all recall that at e-Nigeria 2018 conference, we directed that all government funded ICT projects must be reviewed and cleared by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Our goal was to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government procurement processes. Today, I am informed that through this directive, government has saved over 16.8 billion Naira. I want to encourage the Ministry and NITDA to sustain this tempo.

9. Our recent introduction of the Nigerian E-government Masterplan will further consolidate our successes to date and increase interoperability among the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.

10. A key requirement of the E-government Masterplan is for all government institutions to create a Digital Transformation Technical Working Group that will work with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to ensure seamless and coordinated implementation of projects, programs and policies.

11. Furthermore, the Nigerian e-Government Interoperability Framework, the Enterprise Architecture and the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation are in place and all Ministries, Departments and Agencies are expected to comply with these policies.

12. I have therefore directed the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to develop training and sensitization programs that will be rolled out across all key MDAs with immediate effect to ensure seamless implementation of the masterplan.

13. I wish you very fruitful and impactful deliberations as I look forward to receiving a comprehensive report with your recommendations on how we can improve and expand Nigeria’s digitization agenda for the betterment of our country.

14. Thank you very much for your attention. I hereby declare this Conference open.