Nigeria urged to dialogue with militants

Ben Adam Shemang, Abuja

OPEC Secretary General, Mr Mohammed Barkindo.

The Secretary General Designate of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Mr Mohammed Barkindo says the Nigerian government should explore the carrot and stick approach in handling the crisis in the Niger Delta.

The new OPEC Secretary General said it was necessary for security to be installed in the region so that developments could take place even as he was happy negotiations were going on between the militants and the Nigerian government.

Mr Barkindo was speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu buhari in Abuja.

“I remain confident that through these negotiations, stable and permanent solutions will be found to this problem ‎because the Niger Delta region is a very important part of our country and whatever we can do to address the challenges of development I think is the way forward,” he said.

Commenting on recent trends in the international oil market, he said Nigeria’s case is not too bad, “I have been told that production is beginning to rise again, so for us in OPEC this is the first thing we look at, how much a member country is producing. When we saw that production was falling in Nigeria as a result of recent challenges, the international community, the market also took note of that. But now I think things are beginning to come back to normalcy and I have seen some of your reports that are also very positive.”

He also expressed total support in the reforms taking place in the oil sector in Nigeria, stressing that if Nigeria got it right, many OPEC countries will witness stability in the sector.

“The reforms that have been embarked upon in the oil and gas and power sector, ‎as I have told Mr. President a short while ago, there is no alternative to these reforms. Therefore, what we need to do is together ensure these reforms are sustained. The bane in the past has been lack of continuity of policies and programmes. Energy reforms the world over normally take some time,” Mr Barkindo added.