By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria was stepping up measures to explore more gas for not only local consumption but also for exportation.
He said gas was in abundance in Nigeria, saying that what needed to be done was to stabilize the environment to regularly pump more that that would benefit especially countries within the African sub-region.
The president spoke at a joint press briefing with the visiting President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon who was on a one day working visit to Nigeria at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
He said: “The economy part of (our discussion), it is mainly energy, making sure that the West African Gas pipeline is made much more efficient. This government is making all the efforts it can to stabilize the situation because the resources are there.
“The World knows that Nigeria has plenty of gas, what we need to do is to stabilize the environment so that this gas can be regularly pumped to the sub-region through the infrastructure already in place.
“Also the Nigerian energy mixed is not doing too badly as gas can now be converted into liquid form, the technology is now available, transfers to Benin Republic to power their power stations.
“The sad and long standing problem is the question of using Benin as a transit camp to bring a lot of goods into Nigeria.
“Under ECOWAS agreement, all we have to do is to remind ourselves about our respective national commitments that other than really ECOWAS originated commodities we should not allow it. If we get strict on that, I think Nigerian industries would benefit from ECOWAS agreements,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the visiting president decried economic downturn in Nigeria, saying that most countries within the west African sub-region were being affected.
He said that Nigeria was engine room of West Africa, challenging it to invest into non the non-oil resources as a way of boosting its income.
Talon also said he was in Nigeria to rejig the bilateral relationship between Benin and Nigeria especially in the areas of Trade relations, Economy, Energy development and Education.