Buhari Nominates Self As Petroleum Minister

(AFP)Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is to take personal charge of

the country’s crucial oil portfolio, his spokesman said on Tuesday, as a

deadline loomed for him to finally nominate his cabinet.

Reports from New York, where Buhari has been attending the UN General

Assembly, quoted the president as saying he would be minister of petroleum

resources, with a junior minister taking charge of day-to-day affairs in

the sector.
“Confirmed. He said so,” his spokesman Femi Adesina told AFP in a text

message, without giving further details.
Buhari, 72, took office on May 29 after a landmark election victory

against Goodluck Jonathan — the first time an opposition candidate has

unseated an incumbent in the country’s history.

The former military ruler has vowed that corruption and the corrupt will

have no place in his government and vetting of potential candidates has

been seen as delaying his appointment of a senior ministerial team.

Buhari has made tackling the rot in the oil sector a priority, as he seeks

to cut endemic graft and put the country’s crippled, crude-dependent

finances on a firmer footing.
Nigeria — Africa’s number one crude producer and biggest economy — has

been hit badly by a slump in global crude prices since last year,

squeezing government revenue.
Oil accounts for some 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.

The president has vowed to recover “mind-boggling” sums of stolen oil

cash, starting with a drastic overhaul of state-run oil firm the Nigerian

National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
The NNPC has become a byword for corruption and last year was accused of

failing to remit $20 billion in revenue to the central bank.

Buhari helped establish the NNPC in 1977 as oil minister under military

ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo.
He was later in charge of the Petroleum Trust Fund during the time of

General Sani Abacha in the 1990s.
Buhari’s caution in appointing ministers has seen him nicknamed “Baba Go

Slow” in Nigeria, but he has promised to name his cabinet by Wednesday.

Appointments have to be approved by parliament, which resumed sitting on

Tuesday.
A committee advising Buhari on policy before he took office has

recommended he streamlines the number of ministries and ministers.

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