New OPEC scribe okays government negotiation with N’Delta militants
• No alternative to reforms in oil, gas, power sector, says Barkindo
Newly educated Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, (OPEC) Mr. Mohammed Barkindo yesterday expressed support for the ongoing efforts at dialogue between the Federal Government and Niger Delta militants, saying it would engender lasting peace in the area.
Speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Barkindo, also one-time Group Managing Director, (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who is due to assume duty at OPEC in September however, pledged to continue to focus on the efforts at unifying member-countries of the oil cartels.
The OPEC scribe designate, who attributed his success in the election to the international integrity of President Buhari coupled with the deft campaign skills of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, expressed his appreciation to Nigerians, especially the media for their support for his candidature.
Still speaking on the dialogue option to solve the Niger Delta crisis, Barkindo said the option of carrot and stick is the way forward and government is negotiating and there is a lot of progress being made and I remain confident that through this sustainable progress would be made.
His words, “Government and the militants I understand are negotiating, discussing and we are beginning to see positive results. Though I don’t think it will be proper to preempt these discussions that are being handled by Dr. Kachikwu. I remain confident that from these negotiations, stable and permanent solutions will be found to the Niger Delta problem, because the region is a very important part of our country and whatever we can do to address the challenges of development in the zone, I think, is the way forward.
On challenges before him at OPEC, Barkindo said, “Member countries will have to remain united to confront the skyrocketing in prices, not only of crude oil products and other derivatives but also in the cost of production, which runs with prices. We have also seen the sharp correction from 2014 to couple of months ago when the prices hit the 20s.