A former Minister of Petroleum Resources and erstwhile Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Rilwanu Lukman, is dead.
Born on August 26, 1938, he died about a month to his 76th birthday.
Family sources told a PREMIUM TIMES reporter in Kaduna that he died early Monday in Vienna, Austria.
Also, a source at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on telephone that Mr. Lukman died at about 1 a.m on Monday in an undisclosed hospital in Austria.
“Yes, it’s true that Dr. Lukman passed on last night in a hospital in Vienna,” the source said.
The source asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the matter.
Mr. Lukman was said to have, for a long time, suffered from a yet to be disclosed illness.
Details of his burial plans are yet to be announced.
However, the source at OPEC said Mr. Lukman remains would have to undergo a formal documentation by the hospital in line with the Austrian law before being released and brought back to Nigeria.
Mr. Lukman, was also the Chairman of the defunct Petroleum Industry Law Reform Committee, which later metamorphosed into the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently before the National Assembly.
He was a petroleum engineer who held several ministerial positions in both civilian and military administrations in the country.
He was Secretary General of OPEC between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2000.
In his last tour of duty as minister, Mr. Lukman was, on December 18, 2008, appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, a position he held until March 2010.
He was born in Zaria, Kaduna State on August 26, 1938. He trained as a mining engineer at the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University), and then at Imperial College, London.
He earned a higher degree in mining engineering from the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, Austria (1967–1968); a degree in Mineral Economics from McGill University, Montreal in 1978, and an honorary doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bologna in Italy.
Mr. Lukman was appointed Minister of Mines, Power and Steel (1984-1985) by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
In 1986, he was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation till February 1990.
He was Minister of Foreign Affairs between January and September 1990 and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Electric Power Authority (1993–1994).
From 1986, he served eight consecutive terms as OPEC president and was elected OPEC secretary general on November 22, 1994.