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Heineken Lokpobiri: Meet Nigeria’s new Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil)

Born on March 3, 1967, Heineken Lokpobiri stands as a prominent figure in Nigeria's political landscape.

Born on March 3, 1967, Heineken Lokpobiri stands as a prominent figure in Nigeria’s political landscape. Currently the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Lokpobiri has an extensive history in politics and advocacy, including serving as the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development between 2015 and 2019. His contributions extend back to his tenure as a Senator for Bayelsa West Senatorial District from 2007 to 2015 and his role as a former Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. On a personal note, Lokpobiri is a family man, blessed with a spouse and four children.

Educationally, Lokpobiri boasts an LL.B (Hons) acquired in 1994 from Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt. He also specializes in Environmental Rights and Environmental Law, evident from his Ph.D. from Leeds Beckett University, UK, which he secured in 2015.

Lokpobiri’s political journey started in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, where he served from 1999 to 2003. He cemented his legacy as the Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2001. In 2007, he transitioned to the Nigerian Senate, representing the Bayelsa West constituency. His notable committee appointments include Sports, Public Accounts, Police Affairs, Niger Delta, and Millennium Development Goals.

His chairmanship of the Senate Sports Committee witnessed significant events, especially during Nigeria’s underperformance at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. The committee pinpointed maladministration as a critical issue. Lokpobiri’s leadership shone when he chaired the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Transport. In the context of oil facilities sabotage in the Niger Delta in 2009, he lauded the Federal Government’s amnesty initiative for its potential to stabilize the region.

Moreover, in 2009, Lokpobiri was instrumental in pushing the National Agency for Elderly Persons bill. This legislation aimed to provide legal support and welfare to the country’s elderly. That same year, he stirred debates about land charges in Abuja, emphasizing legal procedures and accountability.

His bid for reelection in 2011 was marked by controversy. Despite an initial win, the INEC retracted their decision due to “widespread irregularities.” This period also saw Lokpobiri’s arrest and eventual challenge against INEC’s verdict. By May 2011, he resumed his senatorial duties, becoming committee chairman for Water Resources.

In 2012, Lokpobiri showcased his legislative prowess by introducing a bill focused on labor union regulations. This proposed law aimed to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability within unions. However, it sparked debate among fellow senators.

By 2015, Lokpobiri made a significant move by moving from the PDP to the APC. His dedication was recognized by the Buhari-led APC administration, which appointed him as the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development.