Segun James and Dike Onwuamaeze
Ten governors on the platform of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) friday visited the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals at Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos, stating that it is a pride to Nigeria and Africa.
The governors, led by the Forum’s chairman, who is the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, described the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals as a salute to entrepreneurship.
Fayemi said the project would contribute immensely to the economic growth of the nation and provide employment to thousands of Nigerians.
He said: “This is an inspirational initiative by the President of the Dangote Group, Mr Aliko Dangote. It demonstrates the possibility where the government provides the enabling environment with the way the Lagos State government has done for individuals that are serious-minded and have what it takes to excel.
“This is an individual that has put together a $12 billion project that we have toured almost throughout the day and had to cut it short to be able to attend to other businesses.
“This is pride in Africa and not just to Nigeria. I don’t know anywhere in Africa you will find a complex such as this.
“I don’t think that there are many places in the world where you will find a complex as comprehensive and extensive as the one we have been privileged to tour.
“We are all looking forward to the products that will come out from this place; the plastics, the oil from the refinery and the fertilizers for our agriculture.”
The NGC chairman was accompanied on the visit by Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos; Godwin Obaseki, Edo; Dapo Abiodun, Ogun; Simon Lalong, Plateau; Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia; Bala Mohammed, Bauchi; Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, Kwara; Babagana Zulum, Borno; Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna and Ivara Esu, Deputy Governor of Cross River.
Fayemi said state governments’ investment in agriculture would be given a boost by the fertilizer plant which is the largest in Africa.
He urged governments to continue to create an enabling environment through the right incentives and policies, as well as provision of infrastructure needed to attract investors to their states.
Also speaking, Sanwo-Olu commended Dangote for deciding to put the strategic investment in Lagos, adding that the government would continue to do its best to support the smooth completion of the project.
“This project is sited close to the Lekki Free Trade Zone and Lekki Deep Sea Port and we are bringing development to our people.
“Part of the things we are doing here is to bring a comprehensive new infrastructure to the communities. We are closing up on two different road connections out of this place. One will go to Epe, and another one will go to Ijebu Ode and back to Lagos.”
The Lagos State governor added that the government planned to open up the place so that people could come and work, live and contribute to the economy.
Welcoming his guests, Dangote thanked the governors for the visit to the facilities and assured them that the group would continue to invest in Nigeria to create jobs and make all Nigerians proud.
“We will continue to make sure that we are the ones that will lead and others will follow. We want to bring all our monies to Nigeria and invest where we belong to,” he said.
Dangote, however, urged the governors to focus on the areas of health, education and capital development, adding that these sectors should be part of their key responsibilities to their people.
Mr Devakumar Edwin, Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Dangote Group, said all the states would benefit from the three million metric tonnes per annum fertiliser plant because it would improve the agricultural sector.
Edwin noted that the 650,000-barrels-per-day refinery could meet 100 per cent of Nigeria’s requirement of all petroleum products and that there would be surplus for export.
“The refinery project will create 1,600 permanent jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs. It will save Nigeria over $7.5 billion annually through import substitution,” he said.