President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to consider the weight of the responsibility of the nation with “200 million poor people, with severe deficit in infrastructure” when sharing oil production cuts.
President Buhari spoke on Thursday at the State House, Abuja, during a meeting with Dr Omar Farouk, who is the Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO).
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The President made the appeal while speaking specifically on the peculiar challenges facing the country amid its large population and immense deficit in infrastructure.
Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, welcomed the decision of APPO to site the headquarters of the African Energy Investment Corporation in Abuja and promised the full support of the country in ensuring the successful take off of the organisation.
The President, who said Nigeria would pay for its share subscription, said the peculiarities of the challenges facing African oil producers required them to come together under the association to share experiences and solve their problems collectively.
He said the growing clamour for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels notwithstanding, countries like Nigeria needed to produce more oil to feed the petro-chemical industry and create jobs.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, informed the President that the proposed APPO Energy Investment Corporation to be sited in Abuja would start with USD 1 billion from the AFRO-EXIM Bank and is expected to bring employment and other benefits to Nigeria.
The Secretary General of APPO who was accompanied by Dr Adedapo Odulaji, the OPEC Governor in Nigeria, conveyed the appreciation of both the Congolese President and the Prime Minister for President Buhari’s support in the relocation of the headquarters of the association to its chosen location, Brazzaville, the Congolese capital.
Dr Farouk voiced hope that members of the 16-member organisation will surmount the challenges posed by COVID-19 as well as that from receding fossil fuel use as a result of the climate change treaties signed by member states and other nations.
President Buhari was lauded for the vision of setting up the APPO and the ratification of its charter by Nigeria back in 1985 as Military Head of State.