By Yetunde Bada
Nigerians on Sunday in Abuja showed excitement about the pace of work at the refinery being built by Forbes richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote.
NAN reports that the Dangote Refinery is an integrated petro-chemical complex which will, apart from refining crude oil to petroleum products, have petrochemical and fertiliser plants.
A cross section of Nigerians in the FCT, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were hopeful the mogul’s words that petroleum products would begin to see a significant drop in prices would be actualised.
Mrs Anyalewa Okewu, a business woman who brings yams into the FCT from Benue, said”if the refinery takes off and the price of petrol can drop, food prices will drop too”.
”If this happens, everyone will begin to sing praises of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Once food is cheap, I believe life will be a lot easier,” she added.
Mr Kwame Mathews, a science teacher, said ”the news that the refinery will also have extra volume for export to other countries is good.
”Nigeria is the big brother of the continent and should live by example.
All the incessant fuel shortages is a big embarrassment but I’m expecting that this refinery will address those issues once it begins operations”.
An unemployed graduate, Kafila Ogunturoti, told NAN that the employment opportunities the refinery would create were huge and appealed to others in the private sector to emulate such ‘laudable projects’ to aid the unemployed.
”If the refinery will generate over 100,000 employment opportunities like you said, then there is hope for the unemployed. That is great news.
“I say kudos to Dangote and pray the handlers will employ based on merit,” Ogunturoti added.
An independent petroleum products marketer on the Suleja-Kaduna highway, who preferred anonymity, said the refinery’s take-off would bring relief to dealers, who had shut down operations due to shortage of products.
”I had to lay off my staff for a while. This recession, coupled with other pressing reasons, had caused many of us to shut down.
”With this good news, 650,000 barrels of refined products is huge and we can begin to take loans to begin again.
”I think it’s a good project and I commend Buhari for giving us hope again,” he said.
The project is located in Lekki Free Trade Zone on a vast land mass of 2,200 hectares, an area eight times bigger than the entire Victoria Island in Lagos.
The refinery is expected to produce 650,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products to meet all the country’s refined petroleum products needs.
The first phase of the plant is expected to be ready by the end of 2017, the second phase by the end of 2018, while the third and the commencement of its operation would be in 2019.