President Muhammadu Buhari will, on Tuesday, roll out the auto-gas scheme in Abuja as the Federal Government moves to create alternative fuel for automobiles and other prime movers in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Chairman, National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), Mohammed Ibrahim, made the announcement at a meeting with media stakeholders yesterday in Lagos. Ibrahim said the autogas scheme and deepening domestic utilisation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) would create about 12.5 million direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
He disclosed that cars in the presidential fleet had been converted to run on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Ibrahim said the need to switch from PMS (petrol) to gas was necessitated by the deregulation of petrol by the government, which had led to increment in the pump prices in recent times.
According to him, gas is a cheaper, safer and cleaner source of energy, hence the need to maximise its utilisation in Nigeria. Ibrahim said the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had issued new guidelines that were encouraging multi-fuel models for existing filling stations, which would be available nationwide within 30 months.
He said: “We need about 500, 000 conversion engineers in the next 90 days to ensure that the retrofitting of the vehicles go as planned. “50 conversion centres are currently upgrading for mass conversion and trainings as over 30,000 vehicles are already running on dual fuels in Nigeria.”
Ibrahim said to deepen domestic cooking gas usage, the NGEP had set up Micro Distribution Centres (MDC) nationwide to bridge the supply and accessories gap between the market and consumers.
He said the MDC scheme would create easy access of cooking gas to the police and paramilitary barracks and private estates nationwide. Ibrahim said the NGEP would also train 10 entrepreneurs from every local government area in the country in the areas of burners, cookers, accessories production and development of MDCs.
He said: “The 90 days training is being undertaken by the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board and the Petroleum Trust and Development Fund. “These entrepreneurs will get their own foundries for manufacturing and will thereafter train others as time goes on.”
Mr. Ibrahim said the NGEP would thereafter push for an executive order banning the importation of these items into the country in order to create jobs for more Nigerians.
He said the committee was also working toward utilisation of gas to boost electricity supply across the country and was targeting a minimum of one megawatt per local government.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has described the former military governor of Plateau State, Rear Admiral Samuel Bitrus Atukum (rtd), as one of the most dedicated military officers who had served under him as Head of State.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said the former Military Governor belongs to a crop of officers whose zeal for duty and patriotism was impressive and worthy of emulation.
Paying a glowing tribute to the retired military officer, Buhari said: “I am particularly impressed by the fact that Atukum had put professionalism and patriotism above other interests in the service of his country, and Nigeria cannot forget his sacrifices in the defence of its territorial integrity.
“As you savour the joy of this occasion, I pray to God to bless you with better health and longer life. I am proud of you and your service to Nigeria. I appeal to you not to hesitate to offer us your invaluable advice whenever necessary.”