12 December 2o16, Abuja – Farmers in parts of Katsina State are predicting big fortunes should the Nigerian government go ahead with its plan to lay oil pipelines to convey petroleum products from Niger to the country, Daily Trust on Sunday has gathered.
However, some artisans in the state have expressed fears that the project, if realised, could put them out of business.
Recently, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, during a town-hall meeting with the management and staff of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company (KRPC) in Kaduna, stressed that efforts were ongoing to explore the possibility of piping crude oil from Niger Republic to be refined in KRPC. He added that President Muhammadu Buhari was personally committed to the project.
He told workers that it was important to explore alternative crude supply to the KRPC, which has been affected by vandalisation of pipelines and obsolescence. He assured that the initiative would reduce the downtime of the plant and ensure optimal utilisation.
Dr. Baru said, “Due to challenges with the aged refinery and crude oil pipelines that had been breached severally, the operations of the refinery have been epileptic. This we are determined to resolve through various intervention methods, including the evaluation of alternative crude oil supply from Niger Republic through building pipelines of over 1,000 kilometers from Agadem to Kaduna. That effort is being championed by Mr. President himself.”
According to him, the corporation has already started engagements with the Nigerien minister of petroleum and the Chinese that are operating the field at Agadem.
The announcement has generated high expectations among land owners in communities where locals expect pipelines to be channelled. When our correspondent visited Yar Mutum village in Mai’Adua Local Government, villagers informed him that they had been advised to keep their lands so that they could sell them for a lot of money when the project commences.
A farmer, Malam Aliyu, said: “We have been sensitised to keep our lands because we will soon use them to make money.” He said they were told that government would pay huge compensations to route the pipelines through their property.
But mechanics, other technicians and food vendors believe that the project would put them out of business.
“Just take a look at Tafa, Marabar Jos in Kaduna, these tankers stop over and business is booming. If they stop coming we will be thrown out of business,” a Nigerien national, Abu, who runs a tea shop at the border, said.
Although the pipeline project is yet to take off and there’s no detail on the proposed route, activities of land grabbers and speculators are high among residents. Investigation by Daily Trust on Sunday revealed that the prices of landed properties have slightly increased around the area.
- Daily Trust