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Nigeria’s Vice-President has warned that the country’s oil won’t be nearly as valuable within a
couple of decades, as its top clients work towards alternative means of power.
“America has stopped buying oil from us. All the countries of Asia that buy oil from us are building alternative means of power, China and Japan are developing electric cars. In fact, Japan has more charging stations than petrol stations. Solar power is getting cheaper,” Nigeria Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo told reporters during a visit to the restive Niger Delta, the country’s main oil-producing region.
“In another 20 to 30 years, our oil won’t be as precious as it is today and that is reality,” Osinbajo said. “We must be smart and act intelligently and fast.”
Osinbajo, accompanied by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Emanuel Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday visited the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta state. They were received in Delta State by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. This visit is a part of Osinbajo’s peace tour across oil producing communities in the Niger Delta.
The Vice-President is trying to engage in talks on how to solve issues affecting the region. These visits are part of the ongoing efforts of the Buhari administration to find a lasting solution to the Niger Delta crisis, which cut Nigeria’s oil output in half in 2016.
Related: Oil Prices Slide As Saudis See No Need Of Extending OPEC Deal
But Osinbajo’s message was about far more than just taming the militancy in the Niger Delta and securing the country’s oil installations. The Vice-President warned Nigerians that the country could face challenges in the future if it continued to depend on oil for income, adding that countries who buy oil from Nigeria are now devising alternative means of power such as solar and wind energy.
Elaborating, Osinbajo said that the oil-rich Niger Delta would have to work to balance the Niger Delta’s unique environmental challenges with recognition as a special economic and development zone.
“This means the federal government, state government, National Assembly, NDDC, civil societies representing Niger Delta must sit together and develop a plan for rapid development. The state should devote a substantial portion of its budget to this special project,” Osinbajo said.
By Damir Kaletovic for Oilprice.com
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Damir Kaletovic is a veteran investigative journalist covering Europe and the Middle East, and a senior consultant for Divergente Research.