Majority of Nigerians are poor, Buhari admits

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday admitted that Nigeria has 200 million poor people and asked the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to consider this when sharing production cuts.

The President stated that asides the 200 million poor people, the nation has a severe deficit in infrastructure, saying that the weight of responsibility was too much.

Buhari also welcomed the decision of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO) to site the headquarters of the African Energy Investment Corporation in Abuja, pledging the full support of the country in ensuring the successful take off of the organisation.

At a meeting with Dr. Omar Farouk from Nigeria, who is the Secretary General of the organisation at the State House on Thursday, Buhari also gave assurance that Nigeria would pay for its share subscription.

The President, who received praises for the vision of setting up the APPO and the ratification of its charter by Nigeria back in 1985 as Military Head of State, 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.

The President 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 the President’s support in the relocation of the headquarters of the association to its chosen location, Brazzaville, the Congolese capital.

He expressed 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.

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