AKK: Group alleges conspiracy against S/East, demands inclusion of S/East & S/South in project
A socio–cultural organization, the Odinala Cultural Heritage Foundation, otherwise known as OCHIE Igbo, has accused the Nigerian government of conspiracy against the South East region in the ongoing Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project, Nigeria Gas Expansion Program (NGEP) and the National Gas Masterplan (NGMP).
OCHIE Igbo made the remarks in a letter dated January 27, 2024, jointly signed by its National President, Dr. Chukwuma Ogugua Orji, and the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Mr. Okoro Chinedum Benedict, and addressed to the Chairman of Senate Committee on Gas at the National Assembly, Senator Agom Jarigbe.
[OCHIE Igbo is a coalition of Civil Society & Human Rights Organizations, Security and Safety groups under the auspices of Coalition for the Defense & Economic Development of the Southeast (CODEDOSE).]
In the letter, the organization, which comprises of young Igbo professionals from across the world, demanded for the inclusion of South East and South South in the AKK Project.
OCHIE Igbo, whose focal point is the protection and projection of South East socio-economic interests and the advancement of its people in the Nigerian project, lamented perceived conspiratorial neglect of the region in the multi-million-dollar project.
The project, it could be recalled, runs from Kogi State through Kaduna, Kano and Niger Republic.
In the letter entitled “Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Project and National Gas Masterplan (NGMP): Request for the Inclusion of the Southeast and South – South Regions in the Nigeria Gas Expansion Program (NGEP)“, the group demanded a review of the AKK, NGEP and NGMP for the inclusion of Southeast and South-South Regions.
“Available facts show that the National Gas Survey Plan (NGSP) situates substantial gas deposits in the Niger Delta, Enugu, Imo and Abia States. We are therefore miffed that the Southeast was deliberately schemed out of any direct participation or derivable benefits from the National Gas Masterplan (NGMP).
“Conversely, there is no known and exploitable natural gas along the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano axis of the natural gas pipeline which President Buhari commissioned on June 30, 2020.
“As such, the force of our argument rests on the fact that given the volume of gas deposit in the Southeast and South-South, it is implausible that these two Regions were excluded from such an expansive developmental project,” OCHIE Igbo stated.
The group, therefore, employed dialogue and quiet diplomacy to achieve the following objectives:
- That the policy introducing the NGEP be reviewed and further expanded to accommodate the Southeast and South-South Regions.
- That a Gas Power Plant of about 1,000, 000 cubic liters’ capacity be headquartered at Imo State, as the backbone of an Industrial Park in the Region. This could power emergent industries with steady energy and serve as economic indemnity for the Southeast people.
- That the quantum of Gas deposit in the Southeast is sufficient enough to serve as an insurance to the Nigerian Senate and Federal Government to pass and assent to the Bill seeking the establishment of the Southeast Development Commission (SEDC) and a Ministry for Southeast Affairs.
- To persuade the authorities to ensure that the Gas headquarters is sited in our region, which has the capacity to exploit about 1, 000, 000 cubic liters of LPG, LNG and CNG and other ancillary business that will yield greater income to the Federal Government, which is the primary reason for the NGEP.
The group sought Senator Jarigbe’s partnership or advocacy for the inclusion of South East and South South geopolitical zone in the National Gas Plan.
The letter was copied to Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, Minister of State for Petroleum, Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum, Ekperikpe Ekpo, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum, Imo Ugochinyere, and Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources, Nicholas Mutu.