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Posts tagged ‘Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’

Lamentation To The Cows Of Bashan – By Izuchukwu Okeke.


By Izuchukwu Okeke

It is 9 am as I stepped finally into the long-stretched passage. It was empty; no teacher, no students; only me. I was late, quite unfortunately. The lectures start at 9 am, and it is expected everyone be in the class at least 8:55 am. And, surely, here, once it is 8:55 the lecturers all file out to the various classes. And once it is 9 am, the classes start. If you arrive a minute past 9, you are late, as I was this day.

The reality of this empty passage sent my mind back to the country I was coming from. I was not even comparing the punctuality of the academic cadre or the standard of education itself. I was thinking of the massive collapse of its essence, its availability and the poverty of its prospects.

The night before, I read it on the Internet that lecturers in the Polytechnics were still on strike. They had been before the University lecturers joined in the middle of last year and continued till early this year. University students sat through 6 months dining with the two worst devils of life: idleness and boredom. The Polytechnic lecturers took few months break and had resumed strike again. And, as it seems, politicians are busy carpeting and cross carpeting; somehow they are not interested in the rants of these distracting academic hordes. So when will the students in Polytechnic go back to class? It is not even known.

I live in Korea, and in this country education is everything. I think it is not necessary to blow anymore horn about the strength of this nation’s economy, standards of their infrastructure and quality of their living standards; all hinged on the power and value of their education system. But it is worth mentioning what I found to be the major discrepancy between these two nations. Here, psyche is the central and most respected national resource; human resources are the strength of the government, the economy and the society, which is why education is everything. Every effort is invested and legitimately dispensed at developing the individual to become a global brand, to earn the capacity to compete with his mates anywhere they are found in the globe.

This country situated on the peninsula betwixt China, North Korea and Japan squat on a total of 100,210 km sq area of land. But unfortunately 72 percent of this land is hills, plateaus and mountains. Meaning that their populations of a little over 50,000,000 people live within the remaining clusters, in relatively higher density, 501.1/km2, higher than most nations of the world. From the shackles of Japanese domination in 1950, this country has risen in leaps and bounds. Among its endearing statistics is the fact that within these decades that followed its independence South Korea economy has been transformed into a G-20 major economy and has the second highest standard of living in Asia, having an HDI of 0.909.

Yes, South Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy and the world’s 15th (nominal) or 12th (purchasing power parity) largest economy. But Korea has no Crude Oil, Tin, Iron Ore, Gold or Diamond Mines. This economy is export-driven. South Korean corporations like Samsung and LG (ranked first and third largest mobile phone companies in the world in the first quarter of 2012 respectively) dominate world markets, among the many beautiful, yet daunting stories of their transformation.

Behind this testimony of exemplary 50 decades of industrial development is an educational and social philosophy that underscores, perfectly well, that the true wealth of a nation is not its natural resources as much as it is its human resources. And each new day as I walk towards the class in Sunkyunkwan University, I am reminded of this philosophy. And also of wholly dedicated, hard-working, cheerful teachers who can go to any length to impart knowledge to the students. How many times I pity the extent of their personal sacrifice to advance the academic goals of their students. But they all work according to this country’s educational philosophy.

The classes are fully equipped with advanced learning infrastructure. The chalkboard a long time ago had given way to a board fully equipped with Power Point presentation facility, digitalized and connected to the Internet. Our test books are online and everything we have to do is online based and of the best standards compared to anywhere in the world.

Here, sadly, a 60 mark/grade after an exam is just a pass! Not even a credit. So any score less than 70, you have to go through a review to step you up and you have to write an exam to prove the review produced the expected result. And this and other factors have driven this nation from the brinks of poverty to industrial heights.

But, somehow, as I entered the class with these thoughts, I began, once again, to nurse that deep gorge of guilt that comes to me when I remember my country, Nigeria. That feeling also comes along with a certain gnawing pain of the advanced nature of ignorance spawned by our system on both the leaders and the lead that seems to suggest nothing will change soon. Since I was born the story has always been that the situation is bad for the common man. It had gone from worse, to worst, until there is no relative adverb to describe the situation now.

I did not cause Nigeria’s problem. I did not steal anybody’s money to be here. My father until his demise was a poor village farmer. My mother is still living off her labour in the farm. I am only a fortunate candidate of a scholarship programme. But this feeling when it comes doesn’t leave me soon. It keeps digging deep hole on my moral fibre. I keep wondering if there is a way I may have contributed to making Nigeria what it is. Leaving over 70 percent of her human population disillusioned and gasping for life, not knowing how and from which source the next meal will come. Seeking miracle in anything mentioned to possess divine power.

I was also keep wondering how Nigerian students abroad whose parents are part and parcel of this system that created the rot feel. How do they feel knowing their parents have left many of the nation’s youths disoriented and confused? How do they feel when their parents pay so much for them to study in this kind of environment, and knowing that this money, by every legitimate standards their parents cannot earn it? How do they feel when they remember that having messed up the system and exported them abroad to acquire the best education their parents left the system back home in total pell-mell. How do they feel to learn that their mates down in the villages are giving up legitimate endeavors and making career prospects in kidnapping and robbery? How do they really feel? Worse than I do? Or maybe they do not feel anything at all?

In the last one-month a drama has been playing out between the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi on the one hand and Ministries of Finance, Petroleum and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, on the other. As it were the whole nation focused on it, because of the whopping amount of money involved. And as that drama played out, the reality of the hopelessness of the Nigerian situation dawned so much on me. That drama defines us in the mean time. Nobody in Nigeria’s governance system has an alternative thinking—or may be just a tiny minority of wayward thinkers who do not even possess the gut and grit to make it to the positions of governance.

To many of them there now at the corridors of power, be it political or bureaucratic, all they want is money. Everyone is talking money, oil money; how it is stolen, how it is not stolen! No one else is thinking. To Nigeria and Nigerians this oil money is everything. You have it, you have everything, you don’t have it, and you don’t have anything. That charade at the House of Assembly also defines the 2015 and the slapsticks of cross-carpeting that have become a daily news menu. Because everybody, everybody politician, wants to place himself at the vantage position to have a bite of the piece of the cake come 2015. They have been eating, and they want to keep eating.

Google, two regular guys’ idea is about to worth more than our oil. The Facebook founder is just 24 years old. But where are Nigerian youths? Is anybody concerned at the mess we left him or her? Of the frustration we are building up among them? Just education! Give them education, a qualitative one, so that they can on their own change their world, compete with their fellows elsewhere. No! Nigerian politicians do not see the resource in the youth. They are only tools used and dumped during elections.

In this generation Nigerian leaders are wired in pursuit of oil blocks and loots because in our clime ideas do not sell and if ideas sell, regular guys will become threats to Nigerian politicians. May be that is the fear. Because I do not see the big deal in investing 30 percent of our resources in revamping the educational system, and establishing it on the best standards and employ it to eliminate this endemic poverty in our clime.

As I sit in the class this day carrying this feeling and thinking these thoughts, the pain gnaws even harder that nothing will change. What will I write more than have been written these years, and what will I say that that has not been said? Like Amos in the bible called their likes, they are cows of Bashan. But we will keep lamenting to their ears. Even when they refuse to change, heaven will bear witness that we told them, as our fathers did.

Izuchukwu Okeke Job
KGSP Scholar
Sungkyunkwan University
Suwon, South Korea

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Borrowed Status: Nigeria without oil thefts, what of Nigeria without oil at all?.


oil-theft-4-

It is obvious the Nigerian economy is in a precarious situation.  Is it anything new? Even oil theft, and the unclear accounts of oil  receipts, coupled with corruption that are speedily draining resources  available to governments, are not new.
Nigerians do not need a warning from outsiders to know that an  economy founded on one product, the proceeds of which are wantonly  stolen, is doomed. Years of contemplating what to do with the economy  has not thrown up solutions that governments are willing to implement.  Every government’s interest is limited to resources it immediately needs  for its projects, most of which are short-term.
A May 2013 World Bank’s Nigeria Economic Report noted that, “Despite  the recovery in oil prices, Nigeria expanded its fiscal stimulus  significantly, increasing consolidated spending by an estimated 2.5 per  cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and drawing down the remaining  balance of the Excess Crude Account at the same time that many other oil  exporters were building back their reserves.”
Nigerians see it differently. While the World Bank worries about  Nigeria’s ability to meet its international obligations, Nigerians are  bothered that their country has no plans to create an economy away from  oil. All the talks about diversifying the economy, some dating more than  40 years, have remained talks, recycled the same way they recycle  politicians for appointments, some dating almost that far back.
The saddest aspect of the patch Nigeria is passing through is that  once oil revenues climb to levels that can fund budgets, managers of the  economy would happily return to their spending sprees.
Oil accounting for 95 per cent of exports and 75 per cent of  consolidated budgetary revenues in Nigeria, is a bigger danger than the  volatility of oil prices and thieves who are exploiting weaknesses in  the oil production chain.
The end of oil theft, which some see as the elixir to the economy,  misses the point again about the importance of the future. Stable oil  prices serve the West’s interests. A stable Nigerian economy, with a  broad manufacturing base to serve Nigerians would not benefit from the  West’s help, which wants Nigeria to be a net importer.
Nigerian authorities should be planning an economy above oil thefts.  The only way that would be possible is by diversifying the economy. Oil  would still be useful by providing the resources to redirect the  economy.
The current practice of consuming all the money the country makes  each budget season is another version of oil theft. Indifference to the  future is new slavery awaiting Nigerians. Our governments owe us a  responsibility to rescue Nigerians from that blight instead of rejoicing  that oil theft is ending.
by: Vanguard

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigerians Yawn Over Missing Billions By Okey Ndibe.


 

Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

On December 9 and 10, several websites and newspapers published a startling letter that Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had written to President Goodluck Jonathan. In the letter, Mr. Sanusi alerted the president that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to remit $49.8 billion in crude oil revenues into the federation account at the Central Bank.
The letter provoked verbal bedlam. The NNPC claimed that the country’s chief banker was ignorant on matters of oil earnings and remittances. It also accused Mr. Sanusi of Nigeria’s version of the capital sin: playing politics.

A week later, Mr. Sanusi appeared before the National Assembly along with Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke. The three announced that their officials had been in marathon meetings to “reconcile” accounts. The Central Bank chief regretted his astonishing estimate of nearly $50 billion as missing remittances. The figure yet to be accounted for by the “reconcilers,” he announced, was $12 billion. Ms. Okonjo-Iweala interjected that the figure was $10.8 billion.

Nigerians, initially irate that somebody may have pocketed $50 billion, were exceedingly delighted to learn that they were out only $12 billion (according to Sanusi) or approximately $11 billion (by Okonjo-Iweala’s calculation). And since many—perhaps most—Nigerians don’t bother to get worked up over any sum smaller than $50 billion, there was a collective yawn throughout the country.

Some Nigerians heaped abuses on Mr. Sanusi for inflating the missing funds to $50 billion. What was the man up to? Perhaps, he sought to shock us into momentarily raising our faces from our piping hot bowls of goat meat pepper soup and chilled bottles of Star lager to pay attention. Perhaps he plotted to compel us, even if for a fleeting moment, to abandon our obsession with English and Euro soccer leagues long enough to carry placards in protest. No question, the banker was out to play with our minds, to mess up our routines, to ginger us into unfamiliar modes of reaction.

Forget the NNPC’s charge that Mr. Sanusi was Mr. Unpatriotic, politicking. With his tenure at the Central Bank due to expire in May, 2014, perhaps the banker was simply rehearsing for a new role as a street dramatist. Perhaps his leaked letter represented an audacious attempt at a tragic production, with a cast of outraged Nigerians filling the streets with their rage, confronted by soldiers armed with the stoutest weaponry for crowd-pacification and a fanatical determination to defend the divine-favored looting class against any silly moves by the rude, wretched, demon-possessed masses.

At any rate, whatever were his designs, Mr. Sanusi failed woefully. He found out, in the most humiliating way, that Nigerians don’t even wake up for $12 billion. And when, according to the General Overseer of the Ministry of Finance, the missing or “unreconciled” funds amount to a mere $10.8 billion, forget it! It’s a mere fraction of what we permit our president, governors, legis-looters, ministers, commissioners, and sundry political aides to rake away in salaries and allowances as well as soirees in different foreign cities.

But seriously! Why are we so blest? What combination of factors has rendered Nigerians this apathetic, this nonchalant, this indifferent to their degraded condition? In a space where most so-called citizens exist in animal-level states, a country with no healthcare to speak of, a vast toilet of a country where millions defecate in the open, where highways are accident traps, where all public universities were just shut down for five months, where electric power remains ever epileptic, where unemployment rates are so high nobody bothers anymore to keep tabs, where insecurity reigns and kidnappers rule, where prisons are chockfull with petty criminals (but with no election rigger or big-time embezzler in sight), where the minimum wage can hardly buy a goat, where trash is piled up on major city streets and burned—why is it that, in this veritable hell of an address on earth, Nigerians scoff at $11 billion? Why do we treat $12 billion as if it were chump change, a poor widow’s lunch budget? My prediction is that we’ve heard the last about the “unreconciled” 10 or so billion dollars.

Why, I wonder, have we gone back to sleep, gone back to quaffing our beer and savoring our pepper soups, because Mr. Sanusi had admitted that we’re missing not $50 billion but (a mere) $12 billion? Nigerians shout themselves hoarse over the fortunes or misfortunes of English Premier league football teams. But tell them that more than $10 billion has taken wings from their treasury and they push the snore button!

The whole NNPC financial fiasco raises several troubling questions. Mr. Sanusi’s letter to President Jonathan was dated September 25, 2013. From all accounts, Mr. Jonathan did nothing. Perhaps he was too busy figuring out the 2015 jigsaw to ask questions about the astonishing letter. Mr. Jonathan did not set up a panel to investigate, did not report the matter to the National Assembly, did not summon Ms. Alison-Madueke (who oversees the NNPC) or Ms. Okonjo-Iweala (who coordinates Nigeria’s economy) to explain things to him. It was only after the CBN governor’s letter was leaked to the press—and drew national and international media attention—that a tripartite meeting was held to reconcile the record.

And what a “reconciliation”! While many reporters and commentators focused on Mr. Sanusi’s admission that his original figure of $50 billion was hugely inflated, they conveniently ignored the fact that the still “unreconciled” sum—whether it’s $10.8 billion or $12 billion—is a huge, huge deal. The collective yawn in the face of information that such princely sum was not accounted for speaks to a deep ethical malaise in Nigeria. In most other countries, rich as well as poor, missing funds as (relatively) low as $10 million would be regarded as a big deal, triggering a thorough scrutiny. Not in Nigeria, a country where five or so civil servants were able to stash away more than $200 million from the police pension funds. And these civil servants have effectively got away with their illicit haul. Next stop for the pension fund looters: the governorship of some state, or—at minimum—a seat in the House of Reps or Senate!

Did Mr. Jonathan ever receive Mr. Sanusi’s letter. If he did, why did he not take action? If he didn’t, then has he sought to find out and fire those who conspired to keep such an explosive document from him?

Nigeria is a place where things that ought to be simple are complicated while things that should be complex are made simple. The language of the NNPC’s first reaction to the whole curious incident of the missing billions struck me as an exercise in obfuscation. The NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, inveighed against Mr. Sanusi’s letter, characterizing it as “an attempt to ridicule NNPC staff and the management of NNPC.” Then he stated, “We will continue to keep our operations in high integrity and transparency and we are available at any point in time to reconcile numbers as we do in our operations.” Mr. Yakubu blamed the CBN governor’s letter on “a surprising lack of understanding of how revenues from crude oil sales are remitted into the Federation Account.”

That’s problematic. The remittance of crude oil earnings is Nigeria’s major source of revenue. Mr. Sanusi has headed the CBN for about four years. Why would the CBN head suddenly become ignorant of how crude oil earnings are deposited at the bank? Mr. Yakubu “explained” that “all NNPC crude oil liftings is made up of the following: Equity Crude, Royalty Oil, Tax Oil, Volume for Third Party Financing, and NPDC equity volume. It is important to stress that remittances of proceeds from the above liftings are made according to statutory and production arrangements.” And so on and so on and so on.

It’s mostly mumbo jumbo, to my ears. Here’s the bottom line: somebody who knows should tell us where those “unreconciled” billions are hiding. Whether the amount is (Okonjo-Iweala’s) $10.8 billion or (Sanusi’s) $12 billion is of little import. It will take a lot of work, a lot of money, to turn Nigeria into a habitable address, to make the lives of Nigerians a little less dire and hellish. Yes, those “unreconciled” billions can make a big difference.

My new novel, Foreign Gods, Inc., will be published on January 14. Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Major marketers back privatisation of refineries.


 

refinary

The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria has supported the move by the Federal Government to privatise the nation’s refineries, saying it is a step in the right direction.
The Secretary General, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, during a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the privatisation process was transparent and open to both local and international bidders with requisite technical knowhow and financial muscle to transform the ailing refineries.
He said, “I support the privatisation of the refineries and the reason is that it will bring in private sector efficiency. However, the privatisation should have some basic ingredients. Unlike the one that was done 24 hours before former President Olusegun Obasanjo left office, this one must be transparent, competitive and open to international bidders.
“It should attract not only the serious bidders that know about running refineries, but those that have the money. If you make it private, people can buy the refineries and start stripping the assets. But if you make it open, competitive and international, investors who will come will be people who are serious and have the financial muscle to turn around the refineries.”
The nation has four refineries with a combined capacity to process 445,000 barrels per day but they have been marred by sub-optimal performance over the years due to poor Turnaround Maintenance, among other factors.
The Federal Government has said it planned to privatise the refineries in the first quarter of this year.
The MOMAN secretary also condemned pipeline vandalism, saying it was a major hindrance to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s efforts at ensuring efficient supply of petroleum product in the country.
Olawore said, “If there is no vandalism, the NNPC can sufficiently meet the petrol demand of the country.  This is because the product that will fill up the pipelines alone is about 500,000 metric tonnes, which is about 500 million litres.
“Meanwhile, we need only about 40 million litres a day. If you divide 500 million litres by 40 million, you probably will get about 12 days’ stocks stored in the pipeline network.”
If not for vandalism, he said the country’s pipeline network could serve as strategic storage if functional.
He further said that a near fuel scarcity was recently averted following the payment of subsidy arrears by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Why Refineries sale approval rushed:Jonathan, Diezani cronies To “Buy” Port Harcourt Refineries.


Jonathan Diezani

Report according to Sahara Reporters has discovered that the shady plan to sell off Nigeria’s four refineries to cronies of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has reached an advanced stage, with cronies of President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke in line to snatch some of the best assets.
Our highly reliable sources revealed that Jide Omokore, a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been penciled down to “buy” one of two refineries in Port Harcourt in what a highly reliable source described as “a rushed privatization process.” Our sources, who are in the Presidency and oil sector respectively, also disclosed that the second refinery in Port Harcourt will be sold to Benny Peters, the owner of Aiteo Energy. Mr. Peters is one of the major beneficiaries from Nigeria’s notoriously fraudulent fuel subsidy payments. A well known crony of Ms. Alison-Madueke, he is also quite close to President Jonathan.
The sources told SaharaReporters that the Warri refinery will be handed over to Igho Salome’s Televaras while the Kaduna refinery will go to Sahara Energy, an oil firm whose owners are also cronies of the Petroleum Minister.
Industry experts have questioned the Federal Government’s rush to sell the refineries when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has not been passed by the National Assembly. The omnibus bill covers virtually every aspect of the oil industry and is currently being considered by the federal lawmakers. Various interest groups have protested and questioned several aspects of the proposed law.
“By rushing to make a pronouncement on the sale of the refineries, it does not need a genius to know that Alison-Madueke is up to something,” a source at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told SaharaReporters. He added: “If you go to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) today, honest officials will tell you that they are under pressure to proceed with the sale. The agenda is very clear.”
An official at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said the major worry in the ministry was that most of those positioned toemerge as “preferred bidders” do not have any history in themanagement of refineries.
“Even though Madam (Diezani) may not listen to anybody, we believe that she should allow other players to come into the sector. All these favored guys are getting the juiciest assets in the country. The feeling we have here is that they are just fronting for her. She is basically going to sell these assets to herself. It makes sense to throw the process very open and allow new players to come in,” said the official, who added, “I am already a marked man because of the critical questions I have raised on these things.”
Last month, SaharaReporters had first exposed the scheme to hand over the national assets to friends and associates of the president and minister by any means necessary. Our sources revealed that Ms. Alison-Madueke had rigged the process to enable her cronies to emerge as the preferred bidders.
A BPE official confirmed to SaharaReporters that some of its officials were worried by the sudden haste in the privatization process, adding that the bureau was already feeling teleguided on the proposed sale.
“Under normal circumstances, and I am talking about the international standards we have adopted in this agency, the privatization would not have ended by the 2015 general election. That is if we want to do things normally. But we are being asked to sell as quickly as possible and this is certainly fishy,” the official said.
The official said, however, that he was not in support of the view that the sale of refineries should wait until the PIB is passed. He warned that “politics has already consumed the PIB and nobody knows for sure when it will be passed.”
Mr. Omokore, one of the “preferred” buyers, is a multi-billionaire PDP member who has received several lucrative deals since Ms. Alison-Madueke was made Minister of Petroleum Resources by President Jonathan in 2010. Mr. Omokore is the chairman of Energy Resources Group, whose subsidiary, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, was involved in a highly controversial operatorship take-over of theNNPC’s oil mining licenses (OMLs) in 2011.
The other two “preferred” buyers are Televaras, owned Mr. Igho Salome, and Sahara Energy, owned by Tonye Vole, Tope Osinubi and Ade Odunsi. Little is known about Mr. Benny Peters, but his company, Aiteo, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of fuel subsidy payments from Mr. Jonathan’s government.
Televaras has been under the spotlight because of its sudden rise to prominence. It recently secured the Afam Power Plant in a privatization deal, despite not having any previous experience in the power sector. A BPE source said the company was arbitrarily announced as the “winner.” The Afam Power Plc was among the 18 PHCN successor companies which were put up for sale. None of the bids received for Afam Power Plc was deemed qualified, but Televaras was curiously announced as the winning bidder.
Sahara Energy was also indicted in a report by a Swiss non-governmental organization, the Berne Declaration. The report revealed how Nigerian oil marketing companies perpetrated widespread subsidy fraud running into several billions of dollars. Titled “Swiss Traders’ Opaque Deals in Nigeria,” the Berne Declaration also accused the NNPC of colluding with international oil traders to defraud Nigeria. The Swiss report revealed that Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya Group, Aiteo Energy Resources Limited, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Tridax Energy, Mezcor Limited and MRS Group had established subsidiaries, also called “letter-box” companies, in Geneva, Switzerland, with no real business activities.
The Swiss document noted that the Nigerian oil firms established the so-called subsidiaries primarily for tax advantages and also for easy access to international capital. But four of the companies, namely Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya, Aiteo Energy and MRS, were investigated by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee and cleared in a widely discredited report that culminated in the infamous $300,000 bribery scandal involving Farouk Lawan, the chairman of the House probe committee, and billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.
According to the Swiss report, the opaque partnership between the NNPC and some Swiss oil traders ensured that the profit generated in transactions escaped state coffers. Describing the scam as “not trivial,” the report added: “By way of example, in 2011 the amount withheld from state coffers came to $8.739 billion. The public coffers were directly penalized. The same year, the revenues from oil fell by 39 per cent against the amount budgeted. And this is despite a rise in the price of oil.”
Two weeks ago, a letter Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria addressed to President Jonathan was leaked to the media.
The letter alleged that the NNPC had failed to remit nearly $50 billion in crude oil earnings at the country’s bank. After a series of meetings between CBN officials as well as officials of the Finance and Petroleum Ministries, Mr. Sanusi disclosed a week ago that the amount of oil export earnings the NNPC had not accounted for now stood at $12 billion. Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disputed his figure, asserting that the discrepancy stood at $10.8 billion. There has been no further information about the whereabouts of the missing funds.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jonathan, Minister’s Cronies To “Buy” Port Harcourt Refineries.


By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters has discovered that the shady plan to sell off Nigeria’s four refineries to cronies of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has reached an advanced stage, with cronies of President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke in line to snatch some of the best assets.
Our highly reliable sources revealed that Jide Omokore, a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been penciled down to “buy” one of two refineries in Port Harcourt in what a highly reliable source described as “a rushed privatization process.” Our sources, who are in the Presidency and oil sector respectively, also disclosed that the second refinery in Port Harcourt will be sold to Benny Peters, the owner of Aiteo Energy. Mr. Peters is one of the major beneficiaries from Nigeria’s notoriously fraudulent fuel subsidy payments. A well known crony of Ms. Alison-Madueke, he is also quite close to President Jonathan.

The sources told SaharaReporters that the Warri refinery will be handed over to Igho Salome’s Televaras while the Kaduna refinery will go to Sahara Energy, an oil firm whose owners are also cronies of the Petroleum Minister.

Industry experts have questioned the Federal Government’s rush to sell the refineries when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has not been passed by the National Assembly. The omnibus bill covers virtually every aspect of the oil industry and is currently being considered by the federal lawmakers. Various interest groups have protested and questioned several aspects of the proposed law.

“By rushing to make a pronouncement on the sale of the refineries, it does not need a genius to know that Alison-Madueke is up to something,” a source at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told SaharaReporters. He added: “If you go to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) today, honest officials will tell you that they are under pressure to proceed with the sale. The agenda is very clear.”

An official at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said the major worry in the ministry was that most of those positioned toemerge as “preferred bidders” do not have any history in themanagement of refineries.

“Even though Madam (Diezani) may not listen to anybody, we believe that she should allow other players to come into the sector. All these favored guys are getting the juiciest assets in the country. The feeling we have here is that they are just fronting for her. She is basically going to sell these assets to herself. It makes sense to throw the process very open and allow new players to come in,” said the official, who added, “I am already a marked man because of the critical questions I have raised on these things.”

Last month, SaharaReporters had first exposed the scheme to hand over the national assets to friends and associates of the president and minister by any means necessary. Our sources revealed that Ms. Alison-Madueke had rigged the process to enable her cronies to emerge as the preferred bidders.

A BPE official confirmed to SaharaReporters that some of its officials were worried by the sudden haste in the privatization process, adding that the bureau was already feeling teleguided on the proposed sale.

“Under normal circumstances, and I am talking about the international standards we have adopted in this agency, the privatization would not have ended by the 2015 general election. That is if we want to do things normally. But we are being asked to sell as quickly as possible and this is certainly fishy,” the official said.

The official said, however, that he was not in support of the view that the sale of refineries should wait until the PIB is passed. He warned that “politics has already consumed the PIB and nobody knows for sure when it will be passed.”

Mr. Omokore, one of the “preferred” buyers, is a multi-billionaire PDP member who has received several lucrative deals since Ms. Alison-Madueke was made Minister of Petroleum Resources by President Jonathan in 2010. Mr. Omokore is the chairman of Energy Resources Group, whose subsidiary, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, was involved in a highly  controversial  operatorship take-over of theNNPC’s oil mining licenses (OMLs) in 2011.

The other two “preferred” buyers are Televaras, owned Mr. Igho Salome, and Sahara Energy, owned by Tonye Vole, Tope Osinubi and Ade Odunsi. Little is known about Mr. Benny Peters, but his company, Aiteo, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of fuel subsidy payments from Mr. Jonathan’s government.

Televaras has been under the spotlight because of its sudden rise to prominence. It recently secured the Afam Power Plant in a privatization deal, despite not having any previous experience in the power sector. A BPE source said the company was arbitrarily announced as the “winner.” The Afam Power Plc was among the 18 PHCN successor companies which were put up for sale. None of the bids received for Afam Power Plc was deemed qualified, but Televaras was curiously announced as the winning bidder.

Sahara Energy was also indicted in a report by a Swiss non-governmental organization, the Berne Declaration. The report revealed how Nigerian oil marketing companies perpetrated widespread subsidy fraud running into several billions of dollars. Titled “Swiss Traders’ Opaque Deals in Nigeria,” the Berne Declaration also accused the NNPC of colluding with international oil traders to defraud Nigeria. The Swiss report revealed that Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya Group, Aiteo Energy Resources Limited, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Tridax Energy, Mezcor Limited and MRS Group had established subsidiaries, also called “letter-box” companies, in Geneva, Switzerland, with no real business activities.

The Swiss document noted that the Nigerian oil firms established the so-called subsidiaries primarily for tax advantages and also for easy access to international capital. But four of the companies, namely Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya, Aiteo Energy and MRS, were investigated by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee and cleared in a widely discredited report that culminated in the infamous $300,000 bribery scandal involving Farouk Lawan, the chairman of the House probe committee, and billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.

According to the Swiss report, the opaque partnership between the NNPC and some Swiss oil traders ensured that the profit generated in transactions escaped state coffers. Describing the scam as “not trivial,” the report added: “By way of example, in 2011 the amount withheld from state coffers came to $8.739 billion. The public coffers were directly penalized. The same year, the revenues from oil fell by 39 per cent against the amount budgeted. And this is despite a rise in the price of oil.”

Two weeks ago, a letter Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria addressed to President Jonathan was leaked to the media.

The letter alleged that the NNPC had failed to remit nearly $50 billion in crude oil earnings at the country’s bank. After a series of meetings between CBN officials as well as officials of the Finance and Petroleum Ministries, Mr. Sanusi disclosed a week ago that the amount of oil export earnings the NNPC had not accounted for now stood at $12 billion. Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disputed his figure, asserting that the discrepancy stood at $10.8 billion. There has been no further information about the whereabouts of the missing funds.

NNPC Fraud: CBN Governor Sanusi To Proceed On Post-Retirement Leave In March.


CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters has learnt that Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, will be forced to leave his post in March, 2014, two months before the formal expiration of his tenure. Two sources at the Presidency and a source at the Central Bank told SaharaReporters that Mr. Sanusi has been ordered to proceed on a post-retirement leave in March. All three sources concluded that the early exit for the CBN henchman was occasioned by Mr. Sanusi’s recent leaked letter to President Goodluck Jonathan detailing the theft of close to $50 billion in oil proceeds by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Last week, Mr. Sanusi revised the figure of missing funds down to $12 billion, but the damage to the Jonathan Presidency is considered massive.

SaharaReporters learnt that Mr. Jonathan has concluded plans to speedily replace the CBN governor whom the president believes set out to embarrass his government. “[President] Jonathan thinks that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has been making erratic pronouncements recently calculated to demean the office of the President,” said a source in the Presidency.

Presidency officials accused the CBN governor of leaking a private letter written to President Jonathan in which Nigeria’s chief banker complained about fraud perpetrated by officials of the NNPC and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. Ms. Alison-Madueke is extremely close to the president and is believed to be the arrowhead of Mr. Jonathan’s corrupt schemes, especially in the oil sector.

One of the sources at the Presidency told SaharaReporters that, although Mr. Sanusi’s allegations were substantially accurate, the CBN governor was forced to back down from the more damaging aspects of his claims after the president’s associates threatened to make an issue of his reckless spending and philandering. “Once Sanusi found out that the Presidency was determined to deal with him, both through the media and by instigating the EFCC to look into his spending habits, he was willing to retreat and to accept an early departure,” said our source.

Shortly after the CBN governor was effectively blackmailed and brought under control, he appeared before the Nigerian Senate and reversed his position, claiming that the NNPC was only unable to reconcile $12 billion of crude oil sale earnings.

It was shortly after Mr. Sanusi’s Senate appearance that President Jonathan ordered that the CBN governor’s retirement should be fast-tracked. Mr. Sanusi, who is believed to nurse an ambition to become the next Emir of Kano, had publicly stated that he does not intend to stay for another term.

His term as Nigeria’s Central Bank governor is due to expire in May 2014.

NYM Calls For CBN Gov’s Resignation.


 

Sanusi-Lamido-Sanusi

Northern Youth Movement For Positive Change has call on the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to resign from his current position as the governor of the apex bank.The group made the call in a statement signed by its coordinator, Mr David Glavda, yesterday in Abuja, saying it is pertinent for Sanusi to resign due to his controversial report on the unremitted oil revenue by the NNPC.“Sanusi has casted a credibility question on himself and the institution he is representing, this presupposes that before he makes any public awareness, he must have evaluated it thoroughly in order not to put the economy in jeopardy or cause the confidence of foreign investors in our economy to be eroded,” the group said.“He has commented on practically everything under the sun, even on issues outside his purview. He certainly does not appreciate the enormity of responsibility bestowed and expected of his office.Sanusi Lamido Sanusi should have cross checked his facts before going public or even writing Mr. President, as the CBN governor,” the group added.It said that Sanusi had unlimited access to the top management of NNPC, adding that it was surprising that rather than double check his information with the relevant government  agencies, he chose to play to the gallery.

Source: Radio Biafra.
By: Murtala Adogi Mohammed

World Bank caveats Nigeria (Zoo) on borrowing to finance budgets.


world bank

The World Bank has cautioned the Federal Government on the fiscal risks that may be associated with borrowing to finance budget deficit in two years’ time.The bank sounding the note of caution at the launch of the Nigeria Economic Report, NER, in Abuja yesterday. It submitted that if fuel subsidy was maintained at N97 per litre, cash call to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, remained at 3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and Federation Account distributions increased annually at 3 per cent in real terms, Nigeria may borrow to finance budget deficit in 2015.Making the presentation, the lead economist of the World Bank, Country Office in Nigeria, Mr. John Litwack, pointed out that the current balance of the Excess Crude Account, ECA, may only be sufficient to pull Nigeria through one year following a sharp decline in oil prices. He cautioned that unless Nigeria can manage to accumulate a strong fiscal reserve, macroeconomic stability faces major external risks.The report stated that the world economic situation was still highly volatile, and an associated macroeconomic crisis would imply high inflation, currency depreciation and increased hardship for a large part of the population.While not outrightly canvassing the removal of fuel subsidy, the Breton Woods institution however presented some sets of assumptions, in which it said that subsidy represented a high and growing opportunity cost to the country. In the absence of the fuel subsidy from 2013 to 2015, under the maintained assumptions, the ECA would, already have accumulated to over $20 billion in 2013 and to well over $40 billion in 2015.“Thus, in the absence of fuel subsidy, under the first two scenarios, the country could succeed in both accumulating a sufficient reserve to protect itself from oil price volatility, and in realising strong increases in distributions to budgets of oil revenues,” the bank stated Under another scenario, the Economic Report states that “without fuel subsidy, the fiscal gap by 2015 would also be re-duced to less than $6 billion, which is a generally manageable situation, given Nigeria’s current strong debt position.”The report noted that Nigeria’s short-term macroeconomic outlook looks generally

strong with the likelihood of higher growth, lower inflation and reserve accumulation, adding however that the growth has not automatically translated into better economic and social welfare for Nigerians.According to the report, “poverty reduction and job creation have not kept pace with population growth, implying social distress for an increasing number of Nigerians”.Liwack, who relied on statistical figures produced by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, to support his points, lamented that between 2004 and 2010 poverty increased in Nigeria to 75 million people.To translate the potential benefits of Nigerian federalist system to national competitive advantage, the Report stated that the federal and state governments needed to improve cooperation and policy coordination in a few key areasThese key areas are, macroeconomic management (counter-cyclical fiscal policy), coordinated policies to enhance market connectivity and improve public services, and the realisation of national standards in public financial management and disclosure. The NER suggested that the significant degree of autonomy and financial independence of Nigerian states could be potentially advantageous for rapid development in the country, but that this process is currently hindered by too little market connectivity, weak coordination in fiscal policy, and problems in governance.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jonathan’s official reply to Obasanjo’s 18-paged letter.


obasanjo-and-jonathan

December 20th 2013
His Excellency,Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFRAgbe L’Oba House, Quarry Road,Ibara, Abeokuta.RE: BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
I wish to formally acknowledge your letter dated December 2, 2013 and other previous correspondence similar to it.You will recall that all the letters were brought to me by hand. Although both of us discussed some of the issues in those letters, I had not, before now, seen the need for any formal reply since, to me, they contained advice from a former President to a serving President. Obviously, you felt differently because in your last letter, you complained about my not acknowledging or replying your previous letters.It is with the greatest possible reluctance that I now write this reply. I am most uneasy about embarking on this unprecedented and unconventional form of open communication between me and a former leader of our country because I know that there are more acceptable and dignified means of doing so.But I feel obliged to reply your letter for a number of reasons: one, you formally requested for a reply and not sending you one will be interpreted as ignoring a former President.Secondly, Nigerians know the role you have played in my political life and given the unfortunate tone of your letter, clearly, the grapes have gone sour. Therefore, my side of the story also needs to be told.The third reason why I must reply you in writing is that your letter is clearly a threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion.The fourth reason for this reply is that you raised very weighty issues, and since the letter has been made public, Nigerians are expressing legitimate concerns. A response from me therefore, becomes very necessary.The fifth reason is that this letter may appear in biographies and other books which political commentators on Nigeria’s contemporary politics may write. It is only proper for such publications to include my comments on the issues raised in your letter.Sixthly, you are very unique in terms of the governance of this country. You were a military Head of State for three years and eight months, and an elected President for eight years. That means you have been the Head of Government of Nigeria for about twelve years. This must have, presumably, exposed you to a lot of information. Thus when you make a statement, there is the tendency for people to take it seriously.The seventh reason is that the timing of your letter coincided with other vicious releases. The Speaker of the House of Representatives spoke of my “body language” encouraging corruption. A letter written to me by the CBN Governor alleging that NNPC, within a period of 19 months did not remit the sum of USD49.8 billion to the federation account, was also deliberately leaked to the public.The eighth reason is that it appears that your letter was designed to incite Nigerians from other geopolitical zones against me and also calculated to promote ethnic disharmony. Worse still, your letter was designed to instigate members of our Party, the PDP, against me.The ninth reason is that your letter conveys to me the feeling that landmines have been laid for me. Therefore, Nigerians need to have my response to the issues raised before the mines explode

.The tenth and final reason why my reply is inevitable is that you have written similar letters and made public comments in reference to all former Presidents and Heads of Government starting from Alhaji Shehu Shagari and these have instigated different actions and reactions. The purpose and direction of your letter is distinctly ominous, and before it is too late, my clarifications on the issues need to be placed on record.Let me now comment on the issues you raised. In commenting I wish to crave your indulgence to compare what is happening now to what took place before. This, I believe, will enable Nigerians see things in better perspective because we must know where we are coming from so as to appreciate where we now are, and to allow us clearly map out where we are going.You raised concerns about the security situation in the country. I assure you that I am fully aware of the responsibility of government for ensuring the security of the lives and property of citizens. My Administration is working assiduously to overcome current national security challenges, the seeds of which were sown under previous administrations. There have been some setbacks; but certainly there have also been great successes in our efforts to overcome terrorism and insurgency.Those who continue to down-play our successes in this regard, amongst whom you must now be numbered, appear to have conveniently forgotten the depths to which security in our country had plunged before now.At a stage, almost the entire North-East of Nigeria was under siege by insurgents. Bombings of churches and public buildings in the North and the federal capital became an almost weekly occurrence. Our entire national security apparatus seemed nonplussed and unable to come to grips with the new threat posed by the berthing of terrorism on our shores.But my administration has since brought that very unacceptable situation under significant control. We have overhauled our entire national security architecture, improved intelligence gathering, training, funding, logistical support to our armed forces and security agencies, and security collaboration with friendly countries with very visible and positive results.The scope and impact of terrorist operations have been significantly reduced and efforts are underway to restore full normalcy to the most affected North Eastern region and initiate a post-crisis development agenda, including a special intervention programme to boost the region’s socio-economic progress.In doing all this, we have kept our doors open for dialogue with the insurgents and their supporters through efforts such as the work of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and the Peaceful Resolution of the Security Challenges in the North-East. You also know that the Governor of Borno State provided the items you mentioned to me as carrots. Having done all this and more, it is interesting that you still accuse me of not acting on your hardly original recommendation that the carrot and stick option be deployed to solve the Boko Haram problem.Your suggestion that we are pursuing a “war against violence without understanding the root causes of the violence and applying solutions to deal with all the underlying factors” is definitely misplaced because from the onset of this administration, we have been implementing a multifaceted strategy against militancy, insurgency and terrorism that includes poverty alleviation, economic development, education and social reforms.Even though basic education is the constitutional responsibility of States, my administration has, as part of its efforts to address ignorance and poor education which have been identified as two of the factors responsible for making some of our youth easily available for use as cannon fodder by insurgents and terrorists, committed huge funds to the provision of modern basic education schools for the Almajiri in several Northern States. The Federal Government under my leadership has also set up nine additional universities in the Northern States and three in the Southern States in keeping with my belief that proper education is the surest way of emancipating and empowering our people.More uncharitable persons may even see a touch of sanctimoniousness in your new belief in the carrot and stick approach to overcoming militancy and insurgency. You have always referred to how you hit Odi in Bayelsa State to curb militancy in the Niger Delta. If the invasion of Odi by the Army was the stick, I did not see the corresponding carrot. I was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State then, and as I have always told you, the invasion of Odi did not solve any militancy problem but, to some extent, escalated it. If it had solved it, late President Yar’Adua would not have had to come up with the amnesty program. And while some elements of the problem may still be there, in general, the situation is reasonably better.In terms of general insecurity in the country and particularly the crisis in the Niger Delta, 2007 was one of the worst periods in our history. You will recall three incidents that happened in 2007 which seemed to have been orchestrated to achieve sinister objectives. Here in Abuja, a petrol tanker loaded with explosives was to be rammed into the INEC building. But luckily for the country, an electric pole stopped the tanker from hitting the INEC building. It is clear that this incident was meant to exploit the general sense of insecurity in the nation at the time to achieve the aim of stopping the 2007 elections. It is instructive that you, on a number of occasions, alluded to this fact.When that incident failed, an armed group invaded Yenagoa one evening with the intent to assassinate me. Luckily for me, they could not. They again attacked and bombed my country home on a night when I was expected in the village. Fortunately, as God would have it, I did not make the trip.I recall that immediately after both incidents, I got calls expressing the concern of Abuja. But Baba, you know that despite the apparent concern of Abuja, no single arrest was ever made. I was then the Governor of Bayelsa State and the PDP Vice-Presidential candidate. The security people ordinarily should have unraveled the assassination attempt on me.You also raised the issues of kidnapping, piracy and armed robbery. These are issues all Nigerians, including me are very concerned about. While we will continue to do our utmost best to reduce all forms of criminality to the barest minimum in our country, it is just as well to remind you that the first major case of kidnapping for ransom took place around 2006. And the Boko Haram crisis dates back to 2002. Goodluck Jonathan was not the President of the country then. Also, armed robbery started in this country immediately after the civil war and since then, it has been a problem to all succeeding governments. For a former Head of Government, who should know better, to present these problems as if they were creations of the Jonathan Administration is most uncharitable.Having said that, let me remind you of some of the things we have done to curb violent crime in the country. We have reorganized the Nigerian Police Force and appointed a more dynamic leadership to oversee its affairs. We have also improved its manpower levels as well as funding, training and logistical support.We have also increased the surveillance capabilities of the Police and provided its air-wing with thrice the number of helicopters it had before the inception of the present administration. The National Civil Defence and Security Corps has been armed to make it a much more effective ally of the police and other security agencies in the war against violent crime. At both domestic and international levels, we are doing everything possible to curb the proliferation of the small arms and light weapons with which armed robberies, kidnappings and piracy are perpetrated. We have also enhanced security at our borders to curb cross-border crimes.We are aggressively addressing the challenge of crude oil theft in collaboration with the state Governors. In addition, the Federal Government has engaged the British and US governments for their support in the tracking of the proceeds from the purchase of stolen crude. Similarly, a regional Gulf of Guinea security strategy has been initiated to curb crude oil theft and piracy.Perhaps the most invidious accusation in your letter is the allegation that I have placed over one thousand Nigerians on a political watch list, and that I am training snipers and other militia to assassinate people. Baba, I don’t know where you got that from but you do me grave injustice in not only lending credence to such baseless rumours, but also publicizing it. You mentioned God seventeen times in your letter. Can you as a Christian hold the Bible and say that you truly believe this allegation?The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me. Since I started my political career as a Deputy Governor, I have never been associated with any form of political violence. I have been a President for over three years now, with a lot of challenges and opposition mainly from the high and mighty. There have certainly been cases of political assassination since the advent of our Fourth Republic, but as you well know, none of them occurred under my leadership.Regarding the over one thousand people you say are on a political watch list, I urge you to kindly tell Nigerians who they are and what agencies of government are “watching” them. Your allegation that I am using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians are waiting for your evidence of proof. That was an accusation made against previous administrations, including yours, but it is certainly not my style and will never be. Again, if you insist on the spurious claim that some of your relatives and friends are being harassed, I urge you to name them and tell Nigerians what agencies of my administration are harassing them.I also find it difficult to believe that you will accuse me of assisting murderers, or assigning a presidential delegation to welcome a murderer. This is a most unconscionable and untrue allegation. It is incumbent on me to remind you that I am fully conscious of the dictates of my responsibilities to God and our dear nation. It is my hope that devious elements will not take advantage of your baseless allegation to engage in brazen and wanton assassination of high profile politicians as before, hiding under the alibi your “open letter” has provided for them.Nevertheless, I have directed the security agencies and requested the National Human Rights Commission to carry out a thorough investigation of these criminal allegations and make their findings public.That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years. You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Sonny Okosun also sang about corruption. And as you may recall, a number of Army Generals were to be retired because of corruption before the Dimka coup. Also, the late General Murtala Mohammed himself wanted to retire some top people in his cabinet on corruption-related issues before he was assassinated. Even in this Fourth Republic, the Siemens and Halliburton scandals are well known.The seed of corruption in this country was planted a long time ago, but we are doing all that we can to drastically reduce its debilitating effects on national development and progress. I have been strengthening the institutions established to fight corruption. I will not shield any government official or private individual involved in corruption, but I must follow due process in all that I do. And whenever clear cases of corruption or fraud have been established, my administration has always taken prompt action in keeping with the dictates of extant laws and procedures. You cannot claim to be unaware of the fact that several highly placed persons in our country, including sons of some of our party leaders are currently facing trial for their involvement in the celebrated subsidy scam affair. I can hardly be blamed if the wheels of justice still grind very slowly in our country, but we are doing our best to support and encourage the judiciary to quicken the pace of adjudication in cases of corruption.Baba, I am amazed that with all the knowledge garnered from your many years at the highest level of governance in our country, you could still believe the spurious allegation contained in a letter written to me by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and surreptitiously obtained by you, alleging that USD49.8 billion, a sum equal to our entire national budget for two years, is “unaccounted for” by the NNPC. Since, as President, you also served for many years as Minister of Petroleum Resources, you very well know the workings of the corporation. It is therefore intriguing that you have made such an assertion. You made a lot of insinuations about oil theft, shady dealings at the NNPC and the NNPC not remitting the full proceeds of oil sales to the of CBN. Now that the main source of the allegations which you rehashed has publicly stated that he was “misconstrued”, perhaps you will find it in your heart to apologize for misleading unwary Nigerians and impugning the integrity of my administration on that score.Your claim of “Atlantic Oil loading about 130, 000 barrels sold by Shell and managed on behalf of NPDC with no sale proceeds paid into the NPDC account” is also disjointed and baseless because no such arrangement as you described exists between Atlantic Oil and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company. NPDC currently produces about 138, 000 barrels of oil per day from over 7 producing assets. The Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) of the NNPC markets all of this production on behalf of NPDC with proceeds paid into NPDC account.I am really shocked that with all avenues open to you as a former Head of State for the verification of any information you have received about state affairs, you chose to go public with allegations of “high corruption” without offering a shred of supporting evidence. One of your political “sons” similarly alleged recently that he told me of a minister who received a bribe of $250 Million from an oil company and I did nothing about it. He may have been playing from a shared script, but we have not heard from him again since he was challenged to name the minister involved and provide the evidence to back his claim. I urge you, in the same vein, to furnish me with the names, facts and figures of a single verifiable case of the “high corruption” which you say stinks all around my administration and see whether the corrective action you advocate does not follow promptly. And while you are at it, you may also wish to tell Nigerians the true story of questionable waivers of signature bonuses between 2000 and 2007.While, by the Grace of God Almighty, I am the first President from a minority group, I am never unmindful of the fact that I was elected leader of the whole of Nigeria and I have always acted in the best interest of all Nigerians. You referred to the divisive actions and inflammatory utterances of some individuals from the South-South and asserted that I have done nothing to call them to order or distance myself from their ethnic chauvinism. Again that is very untrue. I am as committed to the unity of this country as any patriot can be and I have publicly declared on many occasions that no person who threatens other Nigerians or parts of the country is acting on my behalf.It is very regrettable that in your letter, you seem to place sole responsibility for the ongoing intrigues and tensions in the PDP at my doorstep, and going on from that position, you direct all your appeals for a resolution at me. Baba, let us all be truthful to ourselves, God and posterity. At the heart of all the current troubles in our party and the larger polity is the unbridled jostling and positioning for personal or group advantage ahead of the 2015 general elections. The “bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear and deep suspicion” you wrote about all flow from this singular factor.It is indeed very unfortunate that the seeming crisis in the party was instigated by a few senior members of the party, including you. But, as leader of the party, I will continue to do my best to unite it so that we can move forward with strength and unity of purpose. The PDP has always recovered from previous crises with renewed vigour and vitality. I am very optimistic that that will be the case again this time. The PDP will overcome any temporary setback, remain a strong party and even grow stronger.Instigating people to cause problems and disaffection within the party is something that you are certainly familiar with. You will recall that founding fathers of the Party were frustrated out of the Party at a time. Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi was pushed out, Late Chief Solomon Lar left and later came back, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chief Tom Ikimi also left. Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo left and later came back. In 2005/2006, link-men were sent to take over party structures from PDP Governors in an unveiled attempt to undermine the state governors. In spite of that, the Governors did not leave the Party because nobody instigated and encouraged them to do so.The charge that I was involved in anti-party activities in governorship elections in Edo, Ondo, Lagos, and Anambra States is also very unfortunate. I relate with all Governors irrespective of political party affiliation but I have not worked against the interest of the PDP. What I have not done is to influence the electoral process to favour our Party. You were definitely never so inclined, since you openly boasted in your letter of how you supported Alhaji Shehu Shagari against Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe and others in the 1979 presidential elections while serving as a military Head of State. You and I clearly differ in this regard, because as the President of Nigeria, I believe it is my duty and responsibility to create a level playing field for all parties and all candidates.Recalling how the PDP lost in states where we were very strong in 2003 and 2007 such as Edo, Ondo, Imo, Bauchi, Anambra, and Borno, longstanding members of our great party with good memory will also consider the charge of anti-party activities you made against me as misdirected and hugely hypocritical. It certainly was not Goodluck Jonathan’s “personal ambition or selfish interest” that caused the PDP to lose the governorship of Ogun State and all its senatorial seats in the last general elections.You quoted me as saying that I have not told anybody that I will seek another term in office in 2015. You and your ambitious acolytes within the party have clearly decided to act on your conclusion that “only a fool will believe that statement” and embark on a virulent campaign to harass me out of an undeclared candidature for the 2015 presidential elections so as to pave the way for a successor anointed by you.You will recall that you serially advised me that we should refrain from discussing the 2015 general elections for now so as not to distract elected public officials from urgent task of governance. While you have apparently moved away from that position, I am still of the considered opinion that it would have been best for us to do all that is necessary to refrain from heating up the polity at this time. Accordingly, I have already informed Nigerians that I will only speak on whether or not I will seek a second term when it is time for such declarations. Your claims about discussions I had with you, Governor Gabriel Suswam and others are wrong, but in keeping with my declared stance, I will reserve further comments until the appropriate time.Your allegation that I asked half a dozen African Presidents to speak to you about my alleged ambition for 2015, is also untrue. I have never requested any African President to discuss with you on my behalf. In our discussion, I mentioned to you that four Presidents told me that they were concerned about the political situation in Nigeria and intended to talk to you about it. So far, only three of them have confirmed to me that they have had any discussion with you. If I made such a request, why would I deny it?The issue of Buruji Kashamu is one of those lies that should not be associated with a former President. The allegation that I am imposing Kashamu on the South-West is most unfortunate and regrettable. I do not even impose Party officials in my home state of Bayelsa and there is no zone in this country where I have imposed officials. So why would I do so in the South West? Baba, in the light of Buruji’s detailed public response to your “open letter”, it will be charitable for you to render an apology to Nigerians and I.On the issue of investors being scared to come to Nigeria, economic dormancy, and stagnation, I will just refer you to FDI statistics from 2000 to 2013. Within the last three years, Nigeria has emerged as the preferred destination for investments in Africa, driven by successful government policies to attract foreign investors. For the second year running, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investments (UNCTAD) has ranked Nigeria as the number one destination for investments in Africa, and as having the fourth highest returns in the world.Today, Nigeria is holding 18 percent of all foreign investments in Africa and 60 percent of all foreign investments in the ECOWAS Sub-Region. Kindly note also that in the seven years between 2000 and 2007 when you were President, Nigeria attracted a total of $24.9 Billion in FDI. As a result of our efforts which you disparage, the country has seen an FDI inflow of $25.7 Billion in just three years which is more than double the FDI that has gone to the second highest African destination. We have also maintained an annual national economic growth rate of close to seven per cent since the inception of this administration. What then, is the justification for your allegation of scared investors and economic dormancy?Although it was not emphasized in your letter of December 2, 2013, you also conveyed, in previous correspondence, the impression that you were ignorant of the very notable achievements of my administration in the area of foreign relations. It is on record that under my leadership, Nigeria has played a key role in resolving the conflicts in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Bissau and others.The unproductive rivalry that existed between Nigeria and some ECOWAS countries has also been ended under my watch and Nigeria now has better relations with all the ECOWAS countries. At the African Union, we now have a Commissioner at the AU Commission after being without one for so long. We were in the United Nations Security Council for the 2010/2011 Session and we have been voted in again for the 2014/2015 Session. From independence to 2010, we were in the U.N. Security Council only three times but from 2010 to 2015, we will be there two times.This did not happen by chance. My Administration worked hard for it and we continue to maintain the best possible relations with all centres of global political and economic power. I find it hard therefore, to believe your assertions of untoward concern in the international community over the state of governance in NigeriaWith respect to the Brass and Olokola LNG projects, you may have forgotten that though you started these projects, Final Investment Decisions were never reached. For your information, NNPC has not withdrawn from either the Olokola or the Brass LNG projects.On the Rivers State Water Project, you were misled by your informant. The Federal Government under my watch has never directed or instructed the Africa Development Bank to put on hold any project to be executed in Rivers state or any other State within the Federation. The Rivers Water Project was not originally in the borrowing plan but it was included in April 2013 and appraised in May. Negotiations are ongoing with the AfDB. I have no doubt that you are familiar with the entire process that prefaces the signing of a Subsidiary Loan Agreement as in this instance.Let me assure you and all Nigerians that I do not engage in negative political actions and will never, as President, oppress the people of a State or deprive them of much needed public services as a result of political disagreementI have noted your comments on the proposed National Conference. Contrary to the insinuation in your letter, the proposed conference is aimed at bringing Nigerians together to resolve contentious national issues in a formal setting. This is a sure way of promoting greater national consensus and unity, and not a recipe for “disunity, confusion and chaos” as you alleged in your letter.Having twice held the high office of President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I trust that you will understand that I cannot possibly find the time to offer a line-by-line response to all the accusations and allegations made in your letter while dealing with other pressing demands of office and more urgent affairs of state.I have tried, however, to respond to only the most serious of the charges which question my sincerity, personal honour, and commitment to the oath which I have sworn, to always uphold and protect the interests of all Nigerians, and promote their well-being.In closing, let me state that you have done me grave injustice with your public letter in which you wrongfully accused me of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence, clannishness, divisiveness and insincerity, amongst other ills.I have not, myself, ever claimed to be all-knowing or infallible, but I have never taken Nigeria or Nigerians for granted as you implied, and I will continue to do my utmost to steer our ship of state towards the brighter future to which we all aspire.Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration and warm regards.GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN

Source: Radio Biafra.

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