Yemisi Izuora/Ijeoma Agudosi
The United Nations have called on the federal government to deeply consider looking outside oil sector as mainstay of the economy following the dwindling oil price at the international market.
The UNDP country director to Nigeria, Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai gave the advise when a UN delegation visited the Amnesty Office in Abuja.
Dr. Beyai said Nigeria ought to see the increasing decline in the price of oil and gas as a clarion call to refocus on agriculture and other allied industries to keep the economy in good stead.
According to him, Nigerian has opportunity to seek assistance from the international partners to explore its vast potentials in the agriculture and human capacity building to avert the imminent danger that awaits all the oil dependent countries in the world.
‘‘In the face of the dwindling oil price at the International market, if Nigeria had not gotten any wake-up call before now, I Think this is it.
‘‘Oil used to be above 100 dollars, but now it is less than 100 dollars, hovering around 50/60 dollars per barrel. This is not good development because we know the implications to Nigeria. And there is no sign that this trend is not going to continue in the short and medium term.
‘‘I think Nigeria as a country with the support of partners, should think non-oil. At our level, we can only give advice to the government and with this commitment we have seen with the Amnesty Office, I think that is the direction they want to go.’’
On UNDP plans for Niger Delta, the Country director said, the UNDP is particularly concerned about the deprivation in the Niger delta region of Nigeria and has since come up with programmes that have not only brought peace but empowered many ex-agitators and women for a better living.
‘‘Nigeria is the biggest market and economy in Africa. It has the largest population. We feel the country should begin to generate revenue from other areas. This country has huge potentials and can leverage assistance from development partners to explore its potentials.
Responding, the Special Assistant to the President on Amnesty Programme, Brigd. Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), expressed gratitude to UNDP for its commitment to the course of restoring peace in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.
He described the meeting as an inspiring one that is capable of impacting positively on the oil region through the various intervention programmes of the Amnesty Office.
He said the new focus of his Office is on training of the ex-agitators on agro-allied industries skills and industry to help the country move away from over dependence on oil and gas.