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US, EU TO PRESSURISE NIGERIA TO EFFECTIVELY UTILISE OIL RESOURCES

By NBF News
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the United States government and the European Union have decided to jointly put pressure on the Federal Government to ensure that Nigeria's oil and gas resources are used to promote economic development, Empowered Newswire reports.

This new resolve, according to US State Department sources, came out of a deep concern expressed by US and EU leaders over the lack of accountability in the Nigerian oil industry and the attendant tension and crises over resource control.

A US State Department bulletin said the issue of Nigeria came up at a meeting of the US and EU Energy Ministerial Council last week in Lisbon, Portugal, where the ministers 'urged the Nigerian government to use its oil and gas resources to promote economic development, while sustaining a positive investment climate and protecting the environment.'

The Council also stressed the importance of the power sector reform in Nigeria so as to 'enhance access to electricity by Nigeria's citizens.'

The statement added that 'the United States and European Union urged Nigeria to use the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and other mechanisms to improve openness and accountability in the oil and gas sector.'

Also, a communique of the meeting made available to Empowered Newswire titled, 'Joint Statement Following the US-EU Energy Council Ministerial (Meeting), Lisbon,' specifically mentioned Nigeria.

According to the communique, the Council directed its working group to take up the Nigerian matter.

'We directed the Energy Security Working Group to consider issues related to Nigeria and to encourage the Nigerian government to use its oil and gas resources to promote economic development to the long-term benefit of the nation,' the communique, signed by top US and EU government officials said.

It stated, 'Toward those ends, we urged the use of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and other mechanisms to improve transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.

'We noted the importance of power sector reform to enhance access to electricity for Nigeria's citizens.'

The officials, who made the declaration included the US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton; Deputy Secretary, US Department of Energy, Mr. Daniel Poneman; EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton; and Energy Minister, Freya Van den Bossche, for the EU Presidency.