From Uche Usim, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday urged Nigerians to embrace gas as a cleaner and cheaper alternative to petrol.
Speaking at a virtually held event at the State House to unveil the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Auto-gas Roll-out Initiative, President Buhari said Nigeria is blessed with huge gas resources which has hitherto been used sub-optimally due to insufficient gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilisation.
He hailed Nigerians for their patience, and the organised labour for its maturity and patriotism as Nigeria trudges on despite prevalent challenges.
He said: “It is no longer news that the vast natural gas resources, which Nigeria is endowed with, has a proven reserve of about 203 trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and additional upside of 600 TCF, ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently. The need for domestic gas expansion and utilisation is apparent.’’
President Buhari said the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.
“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, auto-gas initiative, is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications, to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.
“The outcome will not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.’’
The President said the auto-gas initiative will lead to increased domestic gas utilisation and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development, adding: “I, therefore, encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.’’
“The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to organised labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.’’