By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for long term partnership between Nigeria and the UK as well as the European Union on green energy policy.
The president, who made the call in an interview session with Bloomberg News, said the UK and EU countries should invest in the planned 4000 km pipeline meant to bring Nigerian gas – the largest reserves in Africa – via Morocco, then onto Europe.
He expressed the hope that the gas pipeline project, when completed would help to address gas supply crisis in Europe.
He said: ”We need long term partnership not inconsistency and contradiction on green energy policy from the UK and European Union.
”Investment is hampered by their broad-brush moratorium on overseas gas projects, while at home the same projects are classified as green.
”It does not help their energy security, it does not help Nigeria’s economy, and it does not help the environment. It is a hypocrisy that must end.
”To change, the UK and EU countries should invest in our planned 4000 km pipeline to bring Nigerian gas – the largest reserves in Africa – via Morocco, then onto Europe.”
He further explained that the gas pipeline project, connecting Nigeria to Europe which was conceived four years ago, had since been unveiled.
”Last week (June 2) – in record time – the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) entered into an agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its construction.
”Concurrently on July 1, the NNPC will become a Limited Liability Company and be subject to more robust auditing and commercial disclosure obligations.
”It will help stimulate investment and boost transparency, where corruption has deterred the former and stymied the latter.
”My administration is the first to pass this landmark reform in our oil and gas sector, after two decades of predecessors’ failure to do so – no doubt due to vested interests,” he said.
Buhari, however, noted that criminality and terrorism in Nigeria’s oil-producing regions had continued to hamper oil production.
He, therefore, called on the Western allies to sanction all terrorist groups operating in the Niger Delta region and other oil producing states in the South-East and South South zones.
”It would help if our western allies designated IPOB as a terrorist group, given their complicity in damage to pipelines and infrastructure,” he said.
The president revealed that the country had invested in the security forces, including the one billion dollars military deal with the U.S. for the acquisition of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
”These efforts are making an impact: wells that had to be closed due to criminality have now re-opened.
”With these efforts, OPEC has raised our quota for next month,” he added.
On the call for the removsl of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for showing interest to contest for the office of the President, the president said it was the responsibility of the CBN’s board of directors to determine whether a CBN governor’s actions had fallen foul of the laws.
‘ ‘The CBN governor is appointed by the President.
”But this appointment is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Senate. Ultimately, it will be for the CBN’s board of directors to determine whether a CBN governor’s actions have fallen foul of the laws in place to ensure he can most effectively carry out his duties.
”But there is a subtext to the accusations. Because the governor follows a model outside of the economic orthodoxy, he is labelled political. But the orthodoxy has proved wrong time and again.
‘ ‘Instead, the governor is following an alternative economic model that puts people at the heart of policy.
”Nigeria should be free to choose its development model and how to construct our economy, so it functions for Nigerians.”
On whether the president plans to endorse a candidate for president in 2023 general elections, Buhari simply said: ”Yes. I will endorse the APC candidate for president.”