By Michael Eboh
Oil-producing countries in Africa, under the aegis of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Tuesday, agreed to relocate the headquarters of the organization from Nigeria to Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
In a statement in Abuja, Engr. Bakary Traore, Director of the APPO Secretariat, Abuja, disclosed that the agreement was reached at the 38th Session of the Ministerial Council of APPO.
According to him, the Ministerial Council approved the recommendation to move the temporary Headquarters of APPO, from Abuja, Nigeria to the permanent Headquarters in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, after Nigeria and three other countries — Egypt, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea withdrew their intention to host the headquarters.
He added that the Council also approved the new Host Country Agreement between the Republic of Congo and APPO, and directed the Secretary General of the Organization, Nigeria’s Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, to sign the agreement on behalf of APPO.
However, Traore declared that on the effective date for the relocation of the headquarters, the Council noted the global lockdowns and restrictions in travels and directed the Secretary General to liaise with the authorities of Congo on a mutually acceptable date for the relocation.
He further disclosed that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown across the globe, the Ministerial Council agreed to postpone the planned first ever Summit of the Heads of State of APPO Member Countries, earlier scheduled to hold in Brazzaville in 2020, to a date in 2021.
Traore said, “It will be recalled that APPO Headquarters was temporarily moved to Abuja in 2018 when Nigeria assumed the Presidency of the Organization with a mandate to execute the approved reform programme of the Organization.
“In the course of the reform, new Minimum Requirements for the hosting of the APPO Headquarters were approved and the hosting right of the Headquarters was opened to all APPO Member Countries interested to contest.
“Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea and the host country Republic of Congo indicated interest. All the new entrants for the hosting of the headquarters withdrew and left Congo as sole candidate.
“A Ministerial delegation visited Brazzaville to evaluate the extent of compliance by Congo with the Minimum Requirements and was pleased with the result, which informed the decision to go back to Brazzaville.”
Traore added that the Council of Ministers of APPO also called on the international community to take drastic actions against unscrupulous individuals perpetrating crude oil and petroleum products theft in Libya.
He said, “The Council of Ministers, having reviewed the presentation of the Head of Delegation of Libya on the negative impacts of crude oil and petroleum products theft in Libya, especially on the lives of the people and their environment, and recalling UNSC Resolution 2146 banning illicit crude oil exports from Libya, condemns in very strong terms the perpetrators of those nefarious acts and calls on the international community to…