Barely 24 hours after he was received by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja, outgoing Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo, is dead.
Barkindo died at about 11pm on Tuesday. He was 63.
Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), confirmed the death in a tweet on Wednesday.
“We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo. He died at about 11pm yesterday 5th July 2022. Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community. Burial arrangements will be announced shortly”, Kyari, tweeted at 4:32 am
President Buhari, who received Barkindo at the State House on Tuesday, had described him as a worthy ambassador of Nigeria.
Buhari, had in the short reception said: “Barkindo’s six-year tenure were challenging brought about by challenges that were crippling the oil market and COVID-19 pandemic that sent crude prices spiralling down at an alarming rate.”.
The President had also said posterity will remember him kindly for making the nation and himself proud during his six years of meritorious service.
He had directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to mobilise the oil and gas industry to organise a befitting welcome reception in honour of Barkindo.
“You have indeed been a worthy ambassador of our country. We are proud of your achievements before and during your appointment at OPEC and the proud legacies you will leave behind.
“Your time in charge of the affairs of OPEC has been a very challenging one for the global oil industry. Oil producers were finding it difficult to come together to address challenges that were crippling the oil market.
“Not long after, the world was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic that sent crude prices spiralling down at an alarming rate. You showed incredible leadership to rally industry players and pushed through the turbulent times.
“There is no doubt about your efforts in putting together the Declaration of Cooperation which is the largest in the history of OPEC and the global oil industry and also the longest in duration in the history of the organization. This was a herculean task”, he said.
Buhari heaped more praises on Barkindo for providing experienced administrative management to OPEC, adding that his efforts have placed the organization in a stronger position to confront the challenges it will face in the coming years.
It is not clear what caused his sudden death, Barkindo is billed to hand over as OPEC scribe to his successor later this month.
Reacting to the shocking development Shehu Sani, former senator representing Kaduna Central, tweeted :“Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo,former GMD NNPC and until recently, @OPECSecretariat scribe, was celebrated and honoured yesterday. He died 11pm Yesternight. May Allah grant him Aljanna firdausi.Amin.That is the ephemerality and transience of life.”