Ex-Oil Minister Lukman is dead

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In Nigeria
Jul 22nd, 2014
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Former Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary-General Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman is dead.

The late Dr. Lukman, also a former Petroleum Minister, died in Vienna, Austria. He was 75.

Details of his death were not clear yesterday.

President Goodluck Jonathan is leading a rain of tributes on the engineer.

Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have also paid tributes.

The late Lukman steered OPEC through the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis when crude fell to $10 a barrel. He presided over a record number of OPEC conferences and was the group’s secretary-general for six years, until 2000. He was Nigeria’s Oil minister from 1986 to 1990 and for two-years from 2008.

Born in Zaria, on August 26, 1938, the late Lukman trained as an engineer with university degrees in both Nigeria and Britain.

He worked under four leaders either as minister or energy adviser in more than two decades until he left office in 2010.

Jonathan expressed sadness and a feeling of great national loss over Lukman’s death.

Jonathan, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, commiserated with the former minister’s family, the government and people of Kaduna, his friends, associates and all those he mentored in the domestic and global oil industry.

The statement reads: “As Alhaji Lukman’s soul returns to its maker, President Jonathan joins all who knew him in giving thanks to God Almighty for bestowing him on the nation and for the great intelligence, integrity, competence and humility with which he distinguished himself in all his national and international assignments.

“Nigeria, the President firmly believes, will always owe a huge debt of gratitude to the late Petroleum Minister for his very significant contributions to the development of the country’s oil and gas industry, and for serving with acclaimed distinction as the nation’s representative at the helm of OPEC affairs over many years.”

Senate President David Mark yesterday described Lukman’s death as a huge loss to Nigeria.

The Senate President said: “As a public servant, he was extra-ordinary. His excellent performance as the then petroleum minister earned him a higher responsibility to become OPEC secretary-general.

“As OPEC Secretary General,  Lukman demonstrated competence, excellence and high sense of wisdom before  the international community and indeed raised the reputation of Nigeria as a strategic and important global player, especially in the oil and gas sector.

“Lukman unarguably left a positive footprint on the sands  of time. No doubt, the nation owes him a great deal of gratitude.”

Tambuwal expressed shock and sadness over Lukman’s death.

In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media)  Imam Imam, Tambuwal described the deceased as a thorough-bred technocrat who served his country diligently at home and abroad.

He said: “Lukman was a pioneer authority whose deep knowledge of the petroleum and gas sub-sector led to the formulation of various policies that have impacted positively on Nigeria.

“He was one Nigerian who is respected globally for his diligence, creativity, honesty and commitment to duty. We will miss a global ambassador who did his best for his fatherland whenever called upon to serve.

“I wish to extend my sympathy and that of the House of Representatives to Dr. Lukman’s family, friends, colleagues and associates. May the Almighty Allah give them the fortitude to bear the loss.”

Atiku described Lukman as “the best oil minister Nigeria ever had”.

“I will describe (Rilwan) Lukman as the best oil minister we ever had, given his unmatched knowledge of the industry and the integrity with which he ran the ministry,” the statement quoted Atiku as saying.

Kaduna State Governor Ramalan Yero has expressed profound grief.

Jamaatul Nasril Islam (JNI) is shocked by the sudden demise of Lukman.

Yero, in a statement by his spokesman Ahmed Maiyaki, described the demise of Lukman as a great loss not only to Kaduna State and Nigeria but the entire World.

“Lukman was a nationalist, who dedicated most part of his lifetime working for the advancement and economic development of Nigeria. Future generations of Nigerians will remember him as an astute administrator that contributed immensely to nation building,” he said.

JNI Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar, said the Muslim community received the sad news with shock because his death had created a vacuum that will be difficult to fill.

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