In a bizarre statement reported to have been made by Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, Nigeria's Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, it turns out Nigeria, on instruction from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), sends raw data on its petroleum sector to the organization only for it to analyze it, and send it back to Nigeria on request. Yemi-Esan is said to have revealed this at an OPEC data management training workshop at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in Abuja.

"Immediately after the minister’s speech last week, somebody stood up and said we didn’t have data source on Nigeria. And I was actually ashamed of myself and I think as we provide data for OPEC, we should address the question of churning credible data to be consumed in-country. It is a pity when students are looking for data we have to go to OPEC to get data about Nigeria," said Yemi-Esan.

As Yemi-Esan pointed out, as a member of OPEC, Nigeria is required to regularly supply the organization with data on its oil sector. In fact, OPEC recently commended Nigeria and ranked it third among its member nations as far as data submission is concerned.

This ranking of Nigeria's quality data submission efforts to OPEC was revealed by Dr. Omar Ibrahim, OPEC Governor for Nigeria, at the same OPEC data management training workshop that Yemi-Esan was in attendance at.

"For some time, our record at data submission and also the accuracy of data hasn’t been good in OPEC. We have always lacked behind most OPEC countries in data submission as well as the accuracy of data that we have been submitting. But in the last three years, things have changed, OPEC is very happy with us; the accuracy of our data has improved tremendously," said Dr. Ibrahim.

This is a rather concerning situation considering how previously Afrika is known for having its raw materials exploited only to be sold back to the continent in the form of various products. More concerning is that Nigeria has a burgeoning technology industry that continues to attract millions of dollars in investment from across the world yet one of the country's most important Ministry's appears to be struggling with data analysis.

The gates of the oil refinery in Port Harcourt. | Wikimedia Commons

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