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Thursday, 21 April 2016

US to help Nigeria end fuel scarcity

Samantha Power, US ambassador to the United Nations (UN), on Thursday promised that the US Embassy in Nigeria would offer technical assistance to help Nigeria solve its lingering challenge of fuel scarcity.

Power made the promise on Thursday in Abuja while fielding questions from reporters during her visit to Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs.

“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,” she said.

“And I think this is something [about which] 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.”

Power said her country would discuss with Nigeria on diversification of its economy. She noted that the drop in oil prices was causing hardship in oil-dependent countries.

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 worsened by the insurgence, which hampered inter-city trade.

“In terms of our meeting with civil society, Nigerian civil society is one of the most vibrant, articulate and rigorous in the world,” she said.

“What we heard a lot about was the question of how the conditions in the north are deteriorating because of the threat posed by Boko Haram.

“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.”

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

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