President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged that Nigeria would make the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project more efficient to stabilise the energy sector across the sub-region. This, he said, would be done, using modern information Technology, (IT) equipment
Speaking at a joint media briefing with the visiting President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, Buhari stated that his administration was doing all it could to stabilize the gas pipelines to enhance electricity supply in Benin and other West African sub-region.
The President of the Republic of Benin, who is making his first official visit to Nigeria since his election in April, was received by Buhari at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, and was treated to a guard of honour by the Guards of Brigade, Nigerian Army.
Besides he also inspected the military parade in his honour, after which the two leaders went in for private discussions.
The two Presidents’ discussions centred on insecurity in the West African sub-region energy and the issue of illegal trade between the two countries.
Buhari also revealed that the Federal Government was looking at the possibility of using modern technology to transform gas into liquid form for export.
“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 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 Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), is not doing too badly as gas can now be converted into liquid form, the technology is now available and being transferred 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.
The visiting President said, he discussed issues of common interest with his host. He recalled that “Sometime ago I was in Nigeria to take part in the regional security Sunnis that took place here in Abuja and I had the opportunity to participate in the matters of common interest.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Talon also said: “It is true that both countries are facing energy problems, yet Benin Republic needs Nigeria to address the energy issues. We spoke about what it takes to the synergies that we need to do that these problems from both sides would be addressed.
“I will like to go a little bit deeper to mention that there is what we call illegal trade between the two countries, whereby goods are imported transiting through Benin Republic to Nigeria where these products are prohibited and this creates some diplomatic problem between the two countries.
“We looked into a situation and discussed the possibility of reactivating and reenergising the relationship between the two countries in such a way that illegal trade is not encouraged but legal and legitimate trades are encouraged so that things are done in legal ways”.