Abuja – Nigeria has pledged to “stabilise the environment’’ to enable it to pump gas across the West African sub-region in furtherance of the objectives of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the pledge in Abuja on Tuesday while addressing a joint news conference with the visiting President of Benin Republic, Mr Patrice Talon.
Buhari said that owing to the availability of the technology required, Nigeria was considering using modern technology to convert gas to liquid form for easy export to countries of the sub-region.
“The economic part of it (our discussion) was mainly on energy – to make sure that the West African Gas Pipeline project is made much more efficient.
“This government is making all the effort it can to stabilise the situation because the resources are there.
“The world knows that Nigeria has plenty of gas.
“What we need to do is to stabilise the environment so that this gas can be regularly pumped to the sub-region through the infrastructure already in place.
“Also the Nigerian LNG is not doing too badly.
“The gas can be turned into liquid form; the technology is now available; it can be transferred to Benin Republic to power their power stations.’’
Buhari thanked Benin Republic for its continued support to Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram in the North East.
In his remarks,, President Talon disclosed that his discussion with Buhari during their closed door meeting, was on security and economy.
According to him, Benin Republic is looking forward to reactivating the existing bilateral relationship between Benin and Nigeria especially in the areas of trade relations, economy, energy development and education.
Talon raised alarm over increased activities of smugglers alone illegal border areas between Benin republic and Nigeria.
The Beninoise president, who spoke through an interpreter, stressed the need to deal with smuggling.
He said doing so would help enhance revenue generation in both countries.
“On this issue of trade relations between the two countries, I would like to go a little bit deeper and to mention that there is what we call “illegal trade’’ between the two countries, which is creating difficulties for the two countries.
“We looked at the possibility of re-energising the trade between the two countries so that illegal trade is discouraged,’’ he said
Talon said the downturn in Nigeria’s economy was adversely affecting his country in particular, and other African countries.
While describing Nigeria as the engine room of West Africa, Talon urged Nigeria to take advantage the abundant potentialities in its non-oil sectors to increase its revenue profile.
He said that it would be timely if Nigeria could do that bearing in mind the fact that its revenue profile had been reduced by falling oil prices in the international market.
Talon also stressed the need for Nigeria to assist his country in stabilising electricity supply, saying that Nigeria remained a big brother in Africa.
He invited Buhari to visit Benin Republic to consolidate the gains of the cooperation between the two countries.