Following months of speculation over reports that President Muhammadu Buhari will appoint himself petroleum minister, he has finally confirmed that indeed, he wishes to “sit on the oil and gas sector”.
In a meeting with select reporters in New York, Tuesday, September 29, 2015, Buhari finally admitted, “I will remain Minister of Petroleum Resources.”
The President made this disclosure in an exclusive press briefing after addressing a Global Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism.
He attempted to justify his decision to operate as a sole administrator over the country’s petroleum industry by saying that he wants to “sanitise” the sector which he said was plagued by corruption, massive fraud, and crude oil theft. He also disclosed that he would appoint a minister of state for the ministry.
Buhari said he was planning to begin prosecution of those who misappropriated revenue of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the trials would soon commence. He pledged to fight corruption, which he identified as the “root of all problems hindering Nigeria as a nation”.
This decision follows in the order of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was on Buhari’s entourage for the just concluded 70th United Nations General Assembly this week. Obasanjo’s tenure as President and Petroleum Minister was plagued by fraud and lack of transparency.