The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun, and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, on Thursday met in Abuja, with both countries agreeing that there’s no row between them.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the minister, Mr. Garba Mohammed, said the two top officials committed to sustaining the excellent relations between their countries.
Among other issues, the statement noted that both parties were of the belief that the recent revocation of some Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) held by Addax Petroleum (a Chinese owned company) was purely a commercial decision and will not have any impact on the excellent relationship between the two nations.
Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to restore four oil mining licences revoked from Addax Petroleum, owned by the Chinese state-run Sinopec.
The petroleum ministry, through the DPR, had revoked the four OMLs, citing the company’s inability to comply with targets and had set up a committee to facilitate the takeover of the assets by new operators- Kaztech/Slavic Consortium.
But a statement from the presidency, signed by presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, later announced the restoration of the leases to Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is in a production sharing contract with Addax Petroleum, thereby overruling the ministry’s position.
Apparently to mend fences, Jianchun after concluding the discussions, extended an invitation to the minister to visit China.
Sylva accepted the invitation and promised to pay a visit to the Asian country later in the year.
Emmanuel Addeh and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja