By Dipo Awojobi – President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Doha emphasised the need for member states of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members to cooperate and find a common ground to stabilise crude oil prices.
According to a statement issued on Sunday February 28, 2016 by the Special Adviser to the President Media & Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, “Speaking at a bilateral meeting with the Sheikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, President Buhari described the current market situation in the industry, which has seen oil prices plummet by 70 per cent since mid-2014, as “totally unacceptable.’’
“As members of OPEC and Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), our relations in the areas of oil and gas, which our two nations heavily rely on, need to be enhanced and coordinated for the benefit of our people.
“The current market situation in the oil industry is unsustainable and totally unacceptable.
“We must cooperate both within and outside our respective organisations to find a common ground to stabilize the market, which will be beneficial to our nations,’’ the President said on the second day of his state visit to Qatar.
He stated that the President used the occasion of his address to the Emir to commend the existing cordial bilateral relations between both countries and invited prospective Qatari investors to take advantage of the abundant opportunities in Nigeria and invest in the key areas of energy, agriculture, real estate development, banking and finance.
He also said that he assured prospective investors of government protection of their persons and investment, noting that in the course of his visit, the delegations from Nigeria and Qatar would formalise at least two bilateral agreements to boost economic cooperation between both countries.
President Buhari was said to have also weighed-in on the situation in the Middle East, commending the role Qatar is playing in resolving the present Syrian crisis, the Palestinian cause and efforts in reconstructing Gaza.
“The conflicts in Yemen and Syria with their attendant humanitarian crisis need genuine international effort to solve. Nigeria as a peace loving country identifies with the State of Qatar in all her peace efforts in the world to end terrorist activities.
“Nigeria is a victim of terrorism. It is with heavy heart that I stand before you and say activities of Boko Haram have led to loss of many lives and displacement of innocent people in our dear nation.
“We, however, take pride to inform you that since our coming to power, Boko Haram has been systematically decimated and are in no position to cause serious threat to our development programs.
“I wish to reiterate that Nigeria rejects violence and extremism in all their ramifications, and assure your Highness that we are with the State of Qatar in your efforts to fight terrorism and injustice in your region and in the world at large,’’ he said.
President Buhari was said to have also called for a lasting solution to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict , saying “we in Nigeria, like the State of Qatar, favour a ‘Two State’ solution, with the State of Palestine living side by side with the State of Israel.
“I want to assure you that we will stand side by side with you, until our brothers and sisters in Palestine achieve their desired objectives.
“Our support for various Security Council resolutions restoring and respecting 1967 boundaries with Jerusalem as capital of Palestine is firm and unshaken,’’ he said.