By Dipo Olowookere
The chief executive of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, has expressed the bank’s delight to be associated with the $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project.
The gas project was flagged off on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, by President Muhammadu Buhari from the Presidential Villa in Abuja, with the groundbreaking ceremony held at Ajaokuta, Kogi State.
At the event, Mr Okonkwo, who was represented by the Executive Director, North, Mr Hassan Imam, lauded the initiative aimed to improve gas supply, enhance power generation and boost the productive capacity of the Nigerian industrial sector.
He pledged Fidelity Bank’s commitment to Oil Serv, the contractor of this project, saying, “As partner/banker to Oilserv, we are happy to meet all the financial obligations and other funding needs, required to successfully execute this project.”
Leveraging on its know-how and capacity, Fidelity Bank Energy Desk provides support to businesses in the oil and gas value chain.
The bank’s support for local content development, according to Fidelity Bank’s Executive Director, Corporate Bank, Mr Obaro Odeghe “underscores our support for the key infrastructure initiatives of the Federal Government, and our customer, Oilserv Limited; a market leader in the oil servicing space.”
Oilserv Limited is an indigenous Engineering Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI) company providing services to power and oil & gas companies/industries and have executed several landmark pipeline and gas infrastructure projects including OB-3 Pipeline Contract, OB-OB Project and currently the AKK pipeline project.
According to the CEO of Oilserv Limited, Mr Emeka Okwuosa, the project would be delivered within the contractual terms, adding that the company has the capacity to handle such a monumental project.
“We are ready for it and what we are doing today is the official flag off which is ground breaking. We are already working and laying the lines,” he stated.
He said the company had already employed over 600 employees, stating that this will be increased to 1000 or 15000 in due course.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, in his address, commended President Buhari for his push and support to jumpstart the project which he said was critical to national development.
Mr Kyari explained that the project, when completed, will create an enabling environment for development, adding that NNPC has the capacity to deliver and create opportunities for the growth of other industries in Nigeria.
On his part, Mr Buhari said the landmark project was being developed at a critical time in Nigeria’s history, particularly now when it has become imperative to improve the country’s infrastructure asset.
The AKK Gas Pipeline Project, he said, will provide gas for generation of power, facilitate the development of new industries and revive 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 President said.
The $2.8 billion gas project was designed in line with the key objectives of the federal government’s masterplan and was borne out of the need to not only boost domestic gas utilization in the country, but reduce the infrastructure deficit plaguing the oil and gas industry.
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