President Muhammadu Buhari has stated desires to partner with Iran in gas utilization, technology, trade, agriculture and investments.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity quoted President Buhari at a bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the 5th Summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, with Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs, Mohammad Nahavandian that a binational commission will be set up to firm up the agreement.
He lamented at the slow pace of growth in Nigeria’s gas industry, stressing that instability and partisan politics has led to continuous gas flaring in the country.
“I will work very hard towards the joint commission. We will go back and identify sectors of common interest. In particular, we are interested in how you utilized your gas, with 95 per cent of your national population wired to gas.
“The evolution of our gas industry is too slow. We are still flaring gas. I will work with you on how to harness and utilize our gas. I am very impressed.”
President Buhari asked to be given up to the second quarter of 2020 on the modality of the binational commission.
The President said that Iran also flared gas in the 70s, expressing his delight that the fires had all been put out. He expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon attain the same feat.
“Instability and partisan politics thwarted all that, leaving us with just six, and the seventh we are now working on. We would have been earning more from gas,” he added.
He said the future of oil and gas is in value addition, extolling Iranians for attainments in oil and gas, electricity generation, agriculture and petrochemical industry.
The Iranian Vice President, who was emphatic that Nigeria and Iran can do a lot, said: “A lot can be done. We can do miracles. We have the vision.”
He suggested four major areas of economic cooperation: petrochemical, power, irrigation agriculture and industry.
The Iranian Vice President also offered cooperation in counter-terrorism, citing the routing of ISIS in Iraq and Syria as major contributors to the global anti-terrorism efforts.