By NBF News

At a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon in New York, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Mr. Phillip Crowley, said there was no reason for Nigeria, an oil-producing country, to be importing refined petroleum products except for the actions of some unnamed selfish people, Empowered Newswire reports.

On Monday, new Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, met with President Barack Obama at the White House, where he presented his letters of credence. Obama told the ambassador that 'the prolonged absence of President Yar'Adua has triggered much uncertainty in Nigeria.'

Speaking exactly 24 hours after the Obama-Adefuye meeting, Crowley recalled that 'when Secretary Clinton was in Nigeria last August, she was very firm in her discussion with President Yar'Adua and other ministers about rooting out corruption, about making sure that the government was performing better.'

According to Crowley, 'Nigeria is a significant country, one of the anchors of Africa, and yet - you see that it is a country that is blessed with considerable resources; and yet it has to import refined petroleum products. It makes no sense.'

'There is no rational basis for that to be occurring, other than you have a number of people in Nigeria who are looking after their own interest and not the broader public interest.'

He also spoke about the request of the US government for information on the true nature of Yar'Adua's sickness. He said that it was indeed the right of Nigerians to be given such information.

The matter, Crowley added 'is a question that we have. We are concerned about - we were concerned when President Yar'Adua was flown back from Saudi Arabia and there were questions about his ability to govern. I think those questions have, for the moment, been answered. We recognise the acting presidency of Goodluck Jonathan. We are very supportive of him.'

But he declared that the question is not really 'for us. It is actually for the Nigerian people. They deserve to know that there is a government in place working on their behalf.'

But he assured that the US government remained 'very supportive of effective governance in Nigeria, and we think that is crucial to making sure that Nigeria remains stable, remains an anchor in that part of Africa, and can play the role it has played regionally, and more broadly in terms of helping Africa advance.'