Former Petroleum Minister Rilwanu Lukman Dies a Month to his 76th Birthday

Reports indicates that former Petroleum Minister, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman say he is dead. He was born on August 26, 1938, he died about a month to his 76th birthday, early Monday morning in Vienna, Austria, his country of residence, after a brief ailment.

*Rilwanu Lukman
*Rilwanu Lukman

Dr. Lukman, who served as Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 01, 1995 to December 18, 2000, was born in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Details of his burial plans are yet to be announced.

However, a source at OPEC said Mr. Lukman remains would have to undergo a formal documentation by the hospital in line with the Austrian law before being released and brought back to Nigeria.

Mr. Lukman, was also the Chairman of the defunct Petroleum Industry Law Reform Committee, which later metamorphosed into the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently before the National Assembly.

He was a petroleum engineer who held several ministerial positions in both civilian and military administrations in the country.

He was Secretary General of OPEC between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2000.

In his last tour of duty as minister, Mr. Lukman was, on December 18, 2008, appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, a position he held until March 2010.

He trained as a mining engineer at the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University), and then at Imperial College, London.

He earned a higher degree in mining engineering from the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, Austria (1967–1968); a degree in Mineral Economics from McGill University, Montreal in 1978, and an honorary doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bologna in Italy.

Mr. Lukman was appointed Minister of Mines, Power and Steel (1984-1985) by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In 1986, he was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation till February 1990.

He was Minister of Foreign Affairs between January and September 1990 and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Electric Power Authority (1993–1994).

From 1986, he served eight consecutive terms as OPEC president and was elected OPEC secretary general on November 22, 1994.

When Olusegun Obasanjo came into office at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic the President retained direct control of the Oil Ministry. Lukman was appointed Special Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters to the President in June 1999, replacing Godwin Aret Adams, and Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

In July 1999 his office announced that 47 offshore Exploration and Production licences awarded by the government to local companies had been cancelled, including 11 highly attractive deep-water blocks given in March 1999 to companies with links to the military.

He said the blocks would be open to commercial tender from both local and foreign companies. He was in favor of restructuring the NNPC to make it a fully commercial enterprise, but did not agree that it should divest its controlling stake in the oil producing joint ventures, and at that time was not in favor of rapid deregulation of the domestic fuels market.

Lukman resigned in November 2003. The resignation was said to be due to a dispute over oil sector reform with the group managing director of the NNPC, Mr. Jackson Gaius Obaseki.

The friction had apparently been building up after Lukman completed his term as OPEC president in early 2002, and after Obasanjo moved control and administration of oil blocks from the Petroleum Resources ministry to the NNPC in June 2002.

He then became the Chairman of Afren Nigeria when it was established in May 2005. He is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and served on the SPE board as regional Director for Africa. In 2007, Lukman became a member of the Supervisory Board of Dietsmann NV of the Netherlands, a leading International Operation & Maintenance company in the upstream energy sector.

Lukman was appointed Honorary (unpaid) Advisor on Energy and Strategic Matters to President Umaru Yar’Adua in August 2007. In December 2008 Lukman was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources, and resigned from his position with Afren, putting his holdings in a blind trust.

In February 2010 there were rumors that Lukman had tendered his resignation after a shakeup in the cabinet by the new acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, but that it had not been accepted.

In March 2010, he warned that the scarcity of petroleum products in Nigeria would only get worse as long as the government held back on deregulating the industry. He left office on 17 March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.

Lukman was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 1989 and Officer of the Legion d’Honneur of France in 1990, as well as being conferred with the First Class rank of the Order of the Liberator from the Republic of Venezuela. He was the first African ever to be honored with the Fellowship of the Imperial College, University of London.

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