Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, has assured that Nigeria would cooperate with member countries of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to boost crude oil prices through reduction of oil output.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said Buhari gave the assurance during audience with Mr. Ahmad Qattan, Special Envoy of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Minister of State for African Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at the State House, Abuja.
President Buhari said as a responsible member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Nigeria was willing to go along with the Saudi initiative in limiting output so that prices would go up.
He said output cuts have always been difficult for Nigeria considering the country’s peculiar circumstances of large population, huge expanse of land and state of under-development, adding, “I wish we can produce more.”
Buhari, however, said, “I have listened carefully to the message. I will speak with the Minister of State for Petroleum. I will call for the latest production figures. I know it is in our interest to listen. We will cooperate.”
The President explained that higher oil prices will make both nations stronger and their citizens more prosperous. He commended King Salman for his leadership in global oil matters, assuring that Nigeria will continue to accord respect to the Kingdom in that regard.
The Special Envoy said he had brought special greetings from King Salman and the Crown Prince, and expressed their best wishes for Nigeria as the country goes into its general elections.
Qattan said the important reason for which King Salman sent him was to make a request to President Buhari to ensure Nigeria’s compliance with quotas assigned in January by exiting previous exemption from output cuts.
He said his country had reduced its own output by 1.4 million barrels per day to ensure that prices went up, stressing, however, that Saudi Arabia alone cannot bring stability to the oil market and shore up prices.
The Special Envoy called for greater adherence to production cuts by Nigeria and hoped that he would take a positive message back home.