Inaugurating the refinery, which was performed virtually, Buhari said that the advent of such refineries in Nigeria would aid the availability of petroleum products and eliminate importation.

Buhari also performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the phase-two of the project to expand the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Nigerian president, Mr. Femi Adesina, said that the establishment of modular refineries was one of the four key elements of the government’s refinery roadmap rolled out in 2018.

The implementation of the initiative, according to the statement, will make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products.

President Buhari said that the Waltersmith Refinery was coming on stream barely two years after the launch of the modular refinery roadmap by the federal government and sthat the initiative came on board several years after licences were issued for the establishment of modular refineries without any result.

“Furthermore, there is increased momentum in the other three focus areas under the roadmap covering the rehabilitation of existing refineries, co-location of new refineries and construction of Greenfield Refineries.

”The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products not only to our neighbouring countries, but to the worldwide market. This modular refinery is the largest commissioned modular refinery in the country today.

”The role played by the federal government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in going into collaboration with Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company is novel in concept and superb in delivery,” Buhari said.

Speaking on the expansion plan, President Buhari described the plan to commence the expansion of the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day for the refining of crude oil and condensates as an integral part of the economic reforms that the country is undergoing.

While looking forward to seeing this new phase completed within the target timeframe, the Nigerian leader said that he had directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and all relevant government agencies to provide Waltersmith company with all the needed support to access crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.

He commended the Chairman, Board, Management and Staff of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Limited for their professionalism and focus in getting the project completed.

“Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and the Minister of State, Petroleum cut the tape on behalf of the President at the event which was also attended by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote and the Chairman of WalterSmith, Abdulrazaq Isa,” the statement added.