“With my double caps of being President of Nigeria, and Chairman of ECOWAS, it is mandatory for Nigeria to assist the sub-regional body.”
That was the declaration from President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday as he hosted a team led by Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Honourable Moustapha Cisse Lo, at State House, Abuja.
President Buhari, according to a statement by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), was responding to requests by the Speaker, which included accommodation, payment of allowances, and sundry welfare issues.
The President added: “We will respond to the issues expeditiously. It is our duty to look after you. We will attend to the issues you have articulated.”
Speaker Cisse Lo thanked Nigeria for allocating land in Abuja to ECOWAS Parliament for its permanent secretariat, noting that Nigeria under President Buhari has led the sub-regional body admirably.
He also applauded the current administration’s commitment to security and anti-corruption, adding: “It has given us hope in the region.”
The Speaker also congratulated President Buhari on the confidence reposed in him by other leaders of West African countries, “which made them choose you as Chairman of ECOWAS.”
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, DURING HIS AUDIENCE WITH THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS WORKERS, THURSDAY 13TH DECEMBER 2018
I welcome you to this gathering and thank you for your unflinching support to this administration over the last three years. I regularly receive feedback on your positive and constructive engagements with the government.
2. No doubt, your support has contributed to the continued uninterrupted supply of products to consumers across the country in the last three years.
May I, therefore, use this opportunity to request that you continue on this patriotic path while assuring you of government’s support to the course of the Nigerian workers at all times.
I fully agree with you that reforming the Petroleum Industry will unlock numerous untapped potentials for the nation. However, these reforms must be well thought out and must have the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians as its core objective.
Such reforms cannot and must not be rushed if we must get it right. We are still suffering from the effects of many legacy policies that were rushed and passed without fully appreciating the consequences the provisions embedded in them.
Whatever decision we take now will impact either negatively or positively on generations to come. The Petroleum Industry Bill was conceived to ensure Nigeria’s future generations are positively impacted by its oil wealth. It was never about short-term gains. I want to assure you that dialogue on the Petroleum Industry Bill is still ongoing. At the end, we will have a bill that the nation will be proud of.
On refineries, the Public Private Partnership approach we adopted to rehabilitate our existing refineries has taken longer than expected. However, I am aware that the NNPC has concluded the process for selecting the private sector partners that will rehabilitate the refineries. I am informed that they are working out finances and hopefully, work will commence soon.
However, we will continue to support innovative ideas that will bring new refinery investments into the country. In this respect, I look forward to receiving suggestions from your members on how we can move forward.
As one of the architects of the Nigeria Contents Monitoring and Development Act, I am sure NUPENG members appreciate that a key principle of this act is the indigenisation of certain processes and production functions. Indigenisation means local value addition leveraging local resources where possible.
The Act specified minimum local content requirements, including manpower, for all projects and contracts in the oil and gas industry. The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board is fully empowered to ensure compliance. I will direct the Hon. Minister of State Petroleum Resources to review the issues you have raised and take appropriate action to ensure compliance with the Act by operators in the industry.
I urge that you submit any specific petition to the Minister of State with the assurance that such will be looked into diligently.
As you are all aware, we are working hard to make our business environment easier and friendlier for investors, both local and international. It is, therefore, our collective duty to provide constructive guidance to enhance operations of investors in the oil and gas sector. Therefore in drafting any petition, I would ask that your submissions are supported with facts.
On security in the Niger Delta, I am sure you will all agree that pipeline vandalism has declined. We have, and will continue to promote peaceful engagement with the communities while at the same time maintain our readiness to respond to any hostile acts of sabotage.
Let me conclude by thanking you for the honour bestowed on me as your GRAND COMRADE. I want to assure you that we will not relent on our drive to create an inclusive, diversified and peaceful Nigeria.
Thank you and God bless Nigeria.