US to offer Nigeria assistance on downstream challenges, diversification

*Fuel.

*Fuel.

…To share intelligence on missing Chibok girls

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

22 April 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The United States has offered ‘technical assistance’ to Nigeria to solve the lingering challenge of fuel scarcity which has hobbled social and economic activities around the country for many months.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms. Samantha Powers, who made the promise on Thursday in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists during her visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, noted that the fuel crises was taking a toll on millions of citizens in the country.

She said, “Just last night when I was coming from the airport, I saw long lines at petrol stations here in Nigeria. And I really feel for the people of this country, who are going through this difficult economic time.

“And I think this is something the embassy has promised to offer whatever technical advice, counsel and technical assistance that we can offer. But we know that some of the best minds in Nigeria are thinking about that, including the ministers in this government,” she said.

Ms. Power added that the U.S would discuss with Nigeria on the diversification of its economy, noting that the drop in oil prices had caused hardship for countries that are oil dependent.

The envoy, who had earlier met with some civil society organisations, said the meeting deliberated on the deteriorating condition in Northern Nigeria due to the threat posed by Boko Haram insurgency.

She attributed the poor condition in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria to economic hardship exacerbated by the insurgency since inter-city trade had been hampered.

“In terms of our meeting with civil society, Nigerian civil society is one of the most vibrant, articulate and rigorous in the world. What we heard a lot about was the questions of how the conditions in the north are deteriorating because of the threat posed by Boko Haram.

Powers added that, “The economic hardship in the region has been exacerbated by the presence of Boko Haram and trade across the border has now come to virtual standstill.

“We heard about very difficult humanitarian conditions in Northern Nigeria and we will travel to Northern Nigeria tomorrow (Friday) and we will try to get a feel of it for first hand,” she said.

The envoy said the meeting with civil society organizations also focused on what more could be done on abductions and kidnappings, particularly of Chibok girls.

She said the issue would be discussed with the federal government by sharing whatever information at the disposal of the US government in a timely manner.

About the Author