Actualisation of Dangote Refinery is a shame to past Nigerian leaders – Senate President, Akpabio

Senator Tokunbo Abiru; Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; Group Executive Director, Commercial Operations, Dangote Industries Limited, Fatima Aliko Dangote; Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio; and Deputy Senate President, Senator Barau Jibrin, during the National Assembly delegates visit to Dangote Petroleum Refinery, Petrochemicals and Fertiliser Plant in Lekki, Lagos, on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

●Says even ordinary Nigerian Vice-president’s residence takes 14 years to complete

The Senate leadership yesterday described the 650,000-bpd Dangote Petroleum Refinery as the 9th wonder of the world but came hard on those who are skeptical of the completion of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery, describing them as dream killers.

President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong; Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Oyetola Ashiru; Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Vice President, Oil & Gas, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, during the National Assembly delegates visit to Dangote Petroleum Refinery, Petrochemicals and Fertiliser Plant in Lekki Lagos, on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Indeed, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who led the leadership of the 10th Senate on a tour of the refinery in Lagos, said detractors of the refinery had all been silenced and that indeed, previous governments had been put to shame with the completion of the project.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio; and Vice President, Oil & Gas, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, during the National Assembly delegates visit to the Dangote Petroleum Refinery, Petrochemicals and Fertilizer Plant in Lekki, Lagos, on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

He assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would give it “what it takes to protect the project because its one project that Nigeria and indeed Africa should take ownership of and protect jealously.”

Commending Alhaji Aliko Dangote for completing the construction of the largest single train refinery in the world in record time, the Senate President said Dangote deserved all the accolades for this feat, noting that the ordinary residence of Nigeria’s Vice-President could not be completed until after 14 years.

“They told us in Abuja that Dangote Refinery is farce but we have come here and seen for ourselves that the refinery is alive and running. Dangote has put a lot of people to shame. They are wondering how it will be possible for a single individual to accomplish what a whole nation could not accomplish; what 240 million people could not maintain; what a continent could not do and then one person will build a 650,000 bpd project.

“They keep wondering how one person can succeed where nations have failed and where continents have failed. But Dangote has done it. It is highly commendable. We came to see the refinery because we, in the current senate, believe in the Nigerian dream. We didn’t come as a doubting Thomas but we came because we believe in the project; we came to rekindle the hope of Nigerians and the Nigerian’s can do spirit.”

Senator Akpabio stated that the whole of Nigeria couldn’t make refineries function in Kaduna, Pot Harcourt, and Warri, but that Dangote and his team have proven that it is possible to dream and achieve it in Nigeria.”

Akpabio said the shame that came with the discovery of oil in Nigeria in 1958 has been removed by Dangote, alluding to a report that India does not have oil but his refineries, from which the country exports refined products. The inability of the nation to refine its oil has brought untold hardship on Nigerians so much so that the Belgian government recently banned the exportation of dirty and condemned fuel from the country to a West African country just because we can’t refine our own products.

Describing the refinery as quite unbelievable, Senator Akpabio, who was sandwiched by other senators comprising the Deputy Senate President, Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and a host of others, said the Senate and the entire National Assembly would come up with robust legislation that would protect the project and others like it.

He stated, “Mr. Dangote, I pity you a lot because even your friends will envy you simply because they will keep wondering how you can succeed when nations, and continents have failed. Now that we have seen for ourselves, we are here to announce our own endorsement of this major project. It is also shocking to see that we produce sufficient fertilizer for Nigeria and enough to be exported.

“As I said, we will do our report and we will speak to Mr. President to put a stop to fertilizer imports to Nigeria. You will hear from us soon.”

Also speaking, Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, enthused that it is a privilege that the refinery happened in “our time, our state and our country. People talk about dreams, but only a few can make them happen. Dangote has put Lagos State and the whole of Nigeria on the world map of excellence.

“I am happy the senate came to see for themselves; Dangote was not ready to rest after successfully building the largest cement factory chain in Africa, second largest sugar refinery in the world. With an investment like this, I can assure you that we are on the right path to meet the projected GDP of $1 trillion by 2030.

“You have the key to the city; I gave it to you a long time ago and I am happy you are using it very well,” Governor Sanwo-Olu stated.

In his remark, Mr. Dangote explained that the “visit could not have come at a more auspicious time than now, just as the organization is in the process of bringing the various units of this complex integrated refining process on stream, an eagerly awaited move.”

He stated further that the Dangote Refinery “produces a wide range of high-quality petroleum products, including premium motor spirit (petrol), diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel, all meeting the highest international standards (Euro V Grade). The refinery, apart from adding value to our crude oil, will yield 900,000 KTPA of polypropylene and 36,000 KTPA of sulfur and carbon black as byproducts.

“The refinery will help boost Nigeria’s economic growth, with the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs. During the construction stage, it supported over 150,000 jobs, made up mostly of Nigerians. These Nigerians, in the process, acquired various skills that are still useful in other construction projects.

“The capacity of the refinery is enough to satisfy domestic demands for refined products. The refinery will export about 50 percent of its production, thereby generating foreign exchange for the country. It will lead to growth in adjacent sectors such as logistics, shipping, engineering, and servicing.

“The refinery has the requisite capacity to provide energy security both by providing a ready home for our crude and by ensuring steady availability of petroleum products for all. Nigerians will also get to partake in the financial returns once we list the refinery on the NGX.

“We are thus making an important contribution to this administration’s plan to grow our GDP to $1 trillion.

“Our group is at the vanguard of job creation and employment generation in Nigeria. We are the biggest employer of labour after the Federal Government. Dangote Cement sustains about 70,000 (seventy thousand) direct and indirect jobs across Africa, while the refinery, petroleum chemical Complex and fertilizer will be able to create over 150,000 (one hundred and fifty thousand) direct and indirect jobs.

“We have remained one of the biggest contributors to government coffers as our three subsidiaries, Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar Refinery and NASCON Allied Industries, paid a total of N788.98 billion in tax and N276 billion in VAT in three years.

“We envision in Nigeria the equivalent of Jamnagar in India, where crude oil refining is the backbone of specialised industrial zones, transportation networks, and ancillary industries, contributing to the overall industrialization of the region. Or Saudi Arabia’s Jubail Industrial City, which is also underground by large scale petrochemical complexes.

“The Legislature has a great role to play in this. Globally, the Legislature plays a great role in protecting and supporting domestic industry. I am sure that the members of the 10th National Assembly are more than equal to the task. Supporting the refinery secures the benefits. It will ensure energy security. As co-creators of value, we appreciate and acknowledge your consistent efforts in ensuring the enactment of vital laws promoting a conducive business environment in the nation,” he said.

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