President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja pledged the cooperation of Nigeria to the effort of oil-producing nations to reduce output to attract higher prices in the global market.
A statement by Garba Shehu, Media and Publicity Aide to the President, said Mr Buhari made this position known when he received Ahmad Qattan, Minister of State for African Affairs and Special Envoy of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.
In the statement, the president said that Nigeria was, as a responsible member of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), willing to go along with the Saudi initiative of limiting oil output to push up prices.
He said that output cuts had always been difficult for Nigeria considering its peculiar circumstances of a large population, a huge expanse of land and state of under-development, adding, “I wish we can produce more.”
“I have listened carefully to the message. I will speak with the Minister of State for Petroleum. I will call for the latest production figures.
“I know that it is in our interest to listen. We will cooperate.”
He said that higher oil prices would make both nations stronger and their citizens more prosperous.
Mr Buhari commended the Saudi monarch for his leadership in global oil matters, assuring that Nigeria would continue to accord respect to the Kingdom in that regard.
Earlier, the Special Envoy had said that he brought special greetings from King Salman and the Crown Prince, and expressed their best wishes for Nigeria as the country prepared into general elections.
Mr Qattan said that the important reason for his mission was to make a request to Mr Buhari to ensure that Nigeria complied with quotas assigned in January by exiting previous exemption from output cuts.
According to him, Saudi has reduced its own output by 1.4 million barrels per day to ensure that prices go up.
He, however, pointed out that Saudi Arabia alone could not bring stability to the oil market and shore up prices.
The envoy called for greater adherence to production cuts by Nigeria and expressed hope that he would take a positive message back home.