Monday, 20 November 2017
News & Stories

News & Stories (1602)

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: Oghara, the home town of former Delta state governor, Chief James Ibori,was again host to the creme of Delta state political, traditional and clerical fields on Sunday as the Oghara community held a special thanksgiving service for the former governor.

The church service, which was held at the First Baptist Church, Oghara, was organised by the community to thankGod for the release of Iborifrom a United Kingdom prison, where he had served almost five years after conviction for money laundry charges.

The service had many political associates and followers of the former governor present. Among those at the event were the immediate
past governor of the state, who is also a cousin of Ibori, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Festus Ovie-Agas,
Senators Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Patric Osakwe and Ighoyota Amori.

Others were members of the Delta state executive and legislative arms of government, including the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Hon
Monday Igbuya and daughter of Chief Ibori, who is a member of the legislature; Erhiateake Ibori. Traditional rulers present included the Ovie
of Oghara Kingdom, Noble Eshemitan and the Pere of Akegbene-Mein Kingdom, Pere Kalanama VII.

Some artistes who graced the church service were Ras Kimono, Orits Wiliki and Ras Father.

Posted On Sunday, 12 February 2017 16:28 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), Mr Ekpo Nta, has disclosed that the commission in course of their operations has seized 62 houses from one female public officer.

Nta said this while answering question during interaction at the Akwa Ibom Anti-Corruption Summit in Uyo on Tuesday.

The theme of the summit is; “Transparency and Accountability: a panacea to good governance and sustainable development.”

He expressed confidence that the anti corruption war was gradually yielding positive result in the country.

He said the commission had interim power to seize property of any public officer whose property was above the accruable income and could not be explained.

According to him, the property will be forfeited to the Federal Government after all litigations have been concluded.

The ICPC boss warned public officeholders not live above their income as the commission had the mandate of interim seizure of any public officer property that live above his or her income.

“There are many facets of corruption in Nigeria the commission will stop at nothing to bring anyone found to have contravened the anti-corruption crusade to book,” Nta said.

He added that the commission had successfully retrieved 40 vehicles that were stolen by retired directors of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and warned against trivialising the anti-graft war of the current administration.

Nta further said that the commission was prosecuting over 400 corruption cases in different courts in the country, adding that those found guilty at the end of the investigation would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He said the commission had taken a step further by launching the campaigns in institutions of higher learning and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC).

He explained that the anti-corruption module had since been introduced into the curriculum of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), adding such measures would go a long way toward entrenching moral values in students.

Nta said the commission had launched anti-corruption clubs in orientation camps, disclosing that such measures had assisted the commission to detect and arrested about 42 fake corps members at orientation camps in the recent times.

Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom said that corruption had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian system.

Emmanuel urged all and sundry to be in the vanguard of curbing the menace of corruption if the country must move forward.

“We must change our mindsets about the way we do things in the country,” Emmanuel said.

The governor decried what he described as illicit cash running into over 157 billion dollars leaving the shores of Nigeria abroad through fraudulent practices.

He identified corruption as the greatest enemy of development, adding that it was regrettable the wholesale repatriation of illicit funds across the borders to develop other nations.

According to him, if such cash are used within the shore of the country, the socio-economic life on Nigeria and Nigerians will have been positively impacted.

Posted On Wednesday, 08 February 2017 13:12 Written by

Despite the pull out of hip-hop musician, Innocent Idibia, known as Tuface from the One Voice Nigeria protest against the federal government, various groups took to the streets in Lagos and Abuja on Monday.


Abj Protest 1

 

 

 

Abj Protest

Protest 3

The conveners of the protest, Coalition of young Nigerians promoting good governance and citizen engagement, tweeted: “It is not about where you are from or your religion. We are first Nigerians before anything else that defines us!”

Protest 4

 

Protest

 

Protest 1

Protest 2

Posted On Monday, 06 February 2017 12:43 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: WARRI-POLITIICIANS, top government functionaries, friends and associates of the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, waiting for his return to Delta State, have besieged the Osubi Airport, Osubi, near Warri and his country home at Oghara, Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state. Among them was his long-time political soul mate, Chief Ighoyota Amori, who visited him in London soon after his release, Secretary to the State Government, Chief Festus Agas, Hon Alphonsus Ojo, Chief Sheriff Oberovwori, Chief Pius Ovbije, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, managing director of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Chief Williams Makinde, Chief Lovette Idisi, Mr. Austin Ayemidejor and Mrs. Philomena Oyarone. Despite the short notice about his arrival, the terminal 2 VIP room and arrival lounge of the Osubi Airport are overfilled and security personnel at the airport are finding it difficult to control the crowd.

A taxi driver at Oghara, Ejiro Onakpome, said: “We heard that he is already in Nigeria, we are anxiously waiting for his return to Oghara. We are also being careful in celebrating his anticipated return today, as it might just be another rumour like it was in December, last year.” But, an elderly woman, whom has already positioned herself at a vantage position in Ibori’s country home, said: “If we do not see Ibori, our hero today with our eyes, Oghara will not sleep, our illustrious son is finally returning home.”

Meanwhile, commercial activities are currently at a slow pace in the community, as the people seem ready to lock up their stalls once the former governor arrives. Commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders, were carrying out several acrobatic displays awaiting his arrival. Live musical bands were seen performing at strategic locations, while bill boards, one of which bore the inscription: “Welcome Home”, have been erected along the road leading to his country home.


Posted On Saturday, 04 February 2017 15:46 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday seized a property belonging to a former Assistant Director (Finance and Account), of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), Mahmud Deji Sambo.

Sambo is facing trial with Musti Bukar for allegedly stealing N58 million belonging to the hospital.
The confiscated house was suspected to have been bought with the stolen money.

A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The EFCC has secured the forfeiture of the property at Plot 114, Gamji Road, New GRA, off Bama Road, Maiduguri, belonging to Mahmud Deji Sambo, a former Assistant Director (Finance and Account), with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

“Sambo is being prosecuted on a three-count charge of stealing. The property, to have been acquired with proceeds of crime, was attached pursuant to an order by Justice M.T Salihu of the Federal High Court, Maiduguri.
“It will be recalled that Sambo and Musti Bukar were arraigned by the EFCC last April for alleged fraud perpetrated in the finance department of UMTH, to the tune of N58 million.

“They pleaded not guilty to the charges. So far, the prosecution has called 10 witnesses as trial continues.”
Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004, empowers the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause on any serving or former public officer or any Nigerian under probe.

Posted On Wednesday, 25 January 2017 14:48 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: 

Troops secure Banjul for Barrow’s return

More details of the peaceful battle to restore democracy in The Gambia became known yesterday.

After days of stand-off, former President Yahya Jammeh suddenly agreed to quit office, yielding to last-minute pressure from Guinean President Alpha Conde and his Mauritanian counterpart Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, who were with him between Friday and Saturday.

After agreeing to leave and save The Gambia from a major crisis, Jammeh was confronted by big challenge –  how to fly out.

The leaders, The Nation learnt, reached out to All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who authorised his private aircraft to be used to fly Jammeh out of Banjul, sources said. 

Jammeh’s exit paved the way for the return of President Adama Barrow to take office after he was sworn in on Thursday in Dakar, Senegal.

Tinubu’s VP-CBT Falcon Jet had been with President Conde, who is a close friend of the leading politician.

It was not until late on Saturday night that Jammeh agreed to go. Sources said Tinubu was contacted to allow the use of his jet to fly Jammeh out of Banjul.

He reportedly gave a condition: it should only be used “if it will facilitate the quick exit of Jammeh and lead to the restoration of peace and democracy in The Gambia”.

The plane eventually flew out with Jammeh, his wife, mother and President Conde on board.

Senegal, it was learnt, insisted on knowing those on board before allowing it to overfly its airspace.  This wish was granted.  Jammeh was flown to Equitorial Guinea where he will be on exile

Jammeh arrived at the airport amid a large convoy of vehicles and throngs of cheering supporters.

He stood on a small platform to hear ceremonial music performed by a military band and then walked down a long red carpet, surrounded by dignitaries.

He climbed the steps to the plane, turned and kissed and waved a Qur’an at those assembled.

It was an emotional farewell. Many soldiers, supporters and dignitaries were crying. Others in The Gambia were glad to see the end of a 22-year dictatorship which had little respect for human rights and freedom of speech.

Posted On Monday, 23 January 2017 04:30 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: New York – The U.S. has commended Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its show of leadership in peacefully ousting former President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, after weeks of political stalemate.

The U.S. Department of State, in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Mark Toner, also welcomed the ongoing peaceful transition in the country and the commitment to democracy by the people. “The United States welcomes the ongoing peaceful transition of power in The Gambia and congratulates President Adama Barrow on his inauguration. “We applaud the commitment to democracy and the restraint shown by the Gambian people over the past weeks. “We commend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional partners for their leadership in addressing the situation,” the statement said.

The U.S. also commended Jammeh for departing The Gambia peacefully and avoiding the use of violence. “We appreciate the decision by Yahya Jammeh to depart The Gambia peacefully. “We also echo President Barrow’s call for Gambians to unite and work together as brothers and sisters for the future of The Gambia. “The United States is proud of our close ties to the people of The Gambia and looks forward to working closely with President Barrow and his team to achieve the aspirations of all Gambians.”


Posted On Sunday, 22 January 2017 23:26 Written by

SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: A Senior Special Assistant to the President, Bashir Ahmaad has posted a photograph of President Muhammadu Buhari watching Channels Television in his suite in the United Kingdom where he went on a 10-day vacation.

Ahmad tweeted: ”MBuhari on a phone call with @ProfOsinbajo while watching Sunday Politics on Channels TV this evening”

The picture serves to dispel evil rumours by some Nigerians on the social media that the president was dead.

Posted On Sunday, 22 January 2017 23:15 Written by

SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow on Saturday said he was returning to his country following Yahya Jammeh’s announcement to step down as president.

Barrow on his twitter handle, @adama_barrow, said “As Yahya Jammeh officially stepped down from office — I will be returning to my homeland, the Republic of The Gambia. #NewGambia.”

Barrow also told the Associated Press in an interview on Saturday that he would enter Gambia once a security sweep had been completed.

The new president also said that Jammeh would be leaving within hours on Saturday and told Gambians who had fled the country that they now had “the liberty to return home”. 

Barrow on Thursday took the oath of office as Gambia’s new president.

He was sworn-in about 5p.m. Senegalese time at the Gambian High Commission in Dakar, Senegal.

Barrow succeeded Yahya Jammeh, who lost in the Dec. 1 presidential election and refused to vacate office when his 22-year rule expired midnight on Thursday.

West African mediators spent several hours in talks with him on Friday after military forces of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stopped actions to remove Jammeh by force to allow last-minute negotiations.

Jammeh, however, on state TV on Saturday, announced that he would step down in the interest of the Gambian people adding that it was his duty to “preserve at every instant” their lives.

He was also reported to have left the State House to join President Alpha Conda of Guinea to the airport, to begin a new life in exile.

 

Posted On Sunday, 22 January 2017 01:34 Written by

•Anti graft agency ‘taking advantage of my silence to try me by media’
•Denies withdrawal of $153m from NNPC accounts
•Yenagoa estate is family compound built in 2011

diezani

Embattled former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, is not taking allegations of massive corruption leveled against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lightly.
She rose in her own stout defence yesterday, denying the allegations.
She accused the EFCC of taking advantage of her silence all this while to put her on media trial and declared in a lengthy statement from her London home.
She said given the “level of deliberate inaccuracies”, she had now been forced to break her silence and respond to some issues.
She specifically denied ever withdrawing $153million from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while in office and said the Yenagoa estate, which the EFCC ascribed to her is her family’s compound built in 2011.
The EFCC, according to her, is only out to convict her in the court if public opinion based on “false reports.”
She said: “I have up till now chosen to maintain my silence and not to respond to inaccurate press reporting.
“However, given the level of deliberate inaccuracies, I am now forced to respond because it is clear that the EFCC is taking advantage of my silence to try me by media and to convict me in the eyes of the public on false reports.
“I am deeply disturbed and bewildered by recent media reports (Premium Times Thursday 12 January, 2017 and other dailies about the same time) claiming that by virtue of an order of the Federal High Court, I have forfeited to the Federal Government, the sum of $153.3m which I purportedly stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
“First and foremost, whilst the reasons for my being out of the country are public knowledge, the principle of fair hearing demands that I should have been notified of formal charges if truly there was a prima facie evidence or indictment against my person linking me with the said issue, so as to ensure that I had adequate legal representation. This was never done.
“I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine. I do not know the basis on which the EFCC have chosen to say that I am the owner of these funds as no evidence was provided to me before the order was obtained and they have not in fact served me with the order or, any evidence since they obtained it.”
She went on: “As at the time of my writing this rebuttal (Thursday 19th January, 2017) the EFCC have still not furnished me or my Lawyers, with a copy of the order.
“I am also informed by my lawyers that the legislation under which the EFCC obtained this order is for situations where the funds are believed to be the proceeds of crime and the owner is not known.
“I do not therefore understand how the EFCC can in the same breath say that the monies in question are mine.
“If they had evidence that the monies were mine then they would not /should not have used the procedure which applies only to funds of unknown ownership.
“If indeed they used this particular legal procedure because they did not know who owned the monies, then how can they now be falsely attributing the ownership to me.
“Let me re-state categorically as I have always maintained for the record, I have not and will never steal money from or defraud the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“I am willing to respond to any charges brought against me that follow duly laid down procedures.
“However, in their typical manner and style, the EFCC have gone to the media to attempt to prosecute their case as trial by TV and other media, rather than go through the onerous but tried and tested means of the Judicial Court process.
“In the face of the obvious falsification of facts and misinformation, it is only right and proper that the EFCC should publish the details of the $153.3M lodgements, the bank account numbers and the account beneficiaries, showing proof of my link to them.
“Having also alleged that the said $153.3M was ‘wired’ from NNPC, the EFCC should also publish details of the NNPC accounts from where the said $153.3 million was taken from with proof that I authorized such a transaction/transactions acting either in my private capacity or, as The Honourable Minister of Petroleum.
“Let me state for the record that as Minister of Petroleum, the operation and management of NNPC finances were outside my purview as outlined in both the Petroleum Act and the NNPC Act.
“The only involvement I had in NNPC Finances was in terms of statutory matters where the Petroleum Act prescribed that as Minister, there were certain duties or actions which I had to perform or take in relation to NNPC.
On alleged $700million found in her house and some mansions traced to her, Diezani accused EFCC of witch-hunt.
She added: “On the 13th of June 2016, the EFCC once again took their well-trodden path to the media. This time claiming that they had ‘discovered’ a mansion in Asokoro, Abuja, worth $18million (approx. N9billion) which they purported to belong to me.
“The EFCC went to the extent of bringing in Aljazeera, an International TV Station, to air a damaging documentary against me in this regard, showing a particular residential building in Asokoro, Abuja, which they told Aljazeera belonged to me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIQdZfz_JdA.
“The EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu, personally took the Aljazeera reporter to the building, alleging that it belonged to me.
“It has since become apparent that the house belongs to a company owned by Mr Kola Aluko.
“If this is not a witch-hunt or a personal vendetta against me, how is it that one of our Country’s premier investigative agencies were unable to avail themselves of facts that are freely available in the public domain?
“Since the EFCC claims that the alleged $18million Asokoro property belongs to me, then they should kindly produce the ‘Authentic’ Certificate of Occupancy and Land Registry information and any other relevant information, as proof of my ownership of the property.
“On the 9th November 2016, the EFCC visited our family home in Yenagoa (Bayelsa State) as pre-agreed and they were escorted around the premises.
“I was therefore completely shocked to once again see my name sensationally splashed across the Front Pages of Newspapers and widely circulated on the internet, with blaring Headlines such as “EFCC UNCOVERS DIEZANI’S MULTI-BILLION NAIRA ESTATE” – Nation Newspaper, January 8, 2017 (Annex- 4A). There was absolutely nothing ‘Hidden’ or ‘Concealed’ about the home.
“I had declared it openly as required by Law, in my Asset declaration forms (Annex-4B). Yet the EFCC have announced that they ‘Just Discovered’ my ‘Hidden Estate’! And labelled it a ‘Multi-Billion Naira Estate’! Even though they had been given the Bill of Quantities, showing actual amount spent.
“It is accepted tradition across the length and breadth of Nigeria, for people to own Country/Village homes. Given the size of the land and the location of the compound, the buildings thereon cannot by any stretch of the imagination be a “Multi-Billion Naira” palatial estate, as the news mongers would want to portray.
“The EFCC were taken on a tour of the compound which consisted of a Main house, and two outhouses – An Obi (meeting bungalow) and a staff quarters(BQ) building – above which we built 3 guest rooms and a parlour.
“The only other two structures are the gate and generator houses. Construction began in late 2011 and was handled in phases.
“During the visit the EFCC was given the bill of quantities, which up until the time construction stopped in early 2015, due to my illness, was at approximately N394million which was declared in the code of conduct documentation, attached (the costs were partially funded by a loan – see code of conduct – Annex4B, the work is still uncompleted and the contractor is still being owed).
“Building costs escalated as a result of delays in construction and external factors such as the extreme flooding of late 2012 that covered most of our areas in the Niger Delta.
“It is the accepted norm when building in the Niger Delta, that due to the topography of the land and the heavily waterlogged and marshy terrain, construction is infinitely more expensive than in other parts of the country, as by its nature it requires the building of extensive piling/raft foundations before any structural work can commence.
“The flooding of 2012 compounded the problem and further increased the cost of construction.
“Stories were circulated by unscrupulous agents of calumny that the EFCC found a mind boggling $700million in cash in my home in Abuja.
“Would the videos of this $700 million cash discovery not have made good viewing? Or should those who recovered this money not tell the public where exactly the money has been kept?
“Perhaps the Central Bank should corroborate that it is in custody of these monies allegedly found in my house
“But then, it is now patently apparent that Nigerians are no longer easily led to believe fables and sensational untruths.”
The ex-Minister said despite the criticism of her tenure, she left $5.6billion LNG dividends for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said: “I would like to state for the record that I performed my duty as Minister of Petroleum Resources with the utmost sincerity and sense of responsibility, ensuring that all Nigerians irrespective of creed, gender or tribe enjoyed their rightful benefits from the Oil and Gas Sector.
“It is pertinent to note that at the end of my tenure, I left behind in the LNG dividend fund, for the incoming Administration, the sum of $5.6billion (five billion six hundred million US Dollars)(Annex-6A).
“I did this to ensure continuity in the crucial gas sector development which underpins the entire Power and Energy Sector and which was and still is, absolutely imperative for the Country’s current and future economic development.”
Regarding Malabu oil block (OPL 245) , the ex-Minister said her was a “purely statutory one as required by Law in the Petroleum Act.”
She said she did not benefit in any way from the transactions or negotiations on the oil block.
She said: “With regards to the various news reports published in both the online and print media, insidiously inferring that I was indicted by Italian prosecutors for, as they put it, ‘ sharing in the Loot’ of the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block deal that involved Malabu and the Joint Venture Multinational partners, ENI(AGIP) and Royal Dutch Shell.
“Let me once again state for the record that this is another figment of the author’s imagination, which given the persistent bid to ensure my destruction and stick all of the sins of the Corruption plagued Oil and Gas Sector of over the last 30years upon my head, probably emanated from the EFCC itself!
“Let me clarify the position are the history of OPL 245, otherwise known as Malabu. You will find a full chronology in the attached report that I made to the House of Representatives in late 2011 (Annex 2A/Annex-2B).
“In 2010, shortly after I was appointed as Minister of Petroleum Resources, the issue of OPL 245 was brought to my attention.
“I looked into the case and immediately became aware of the inherent and long standing sensitivities around this issue.
“It became clear from the onset that this case was not within the direct purview of the Minister of Petroleum Resources but in the main was centered around issues of Law.
“By this time there was already an ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) investigation and claims against the FGN running into billions of dollars.
“Therefore, we took directives from the Chief Legal Officer of the nation; the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. In all of these matters due process was followed to the letter at all times.
“I wish to categorically state that I have never held any discussions on this matter with any individuals or entities outside of official channels.
“As Minister of Petroleum Resources, I did not participate in any activity relating to financial payments on the Malabu matter, other than those statutorily mandated to the Minister of Petroleum Resources by the Petroleum Act.
“My role in this matter was a purely statutory one as required by Law in the Petroleum Act.”
In an emotional tone, Diezani expressed confidence that she will be vindicated at the end of the ongoing investigations at home and in the UK.
She added: “It is saddening that after eight years of serving my country, my experience as a public servant has been fraught with continuous malicious castigation and character assassination, all in the name of ‘personal vendettas’ or political horse trading.
“It has become apparent to many that these untruths told were at best well-crafted fables.
“The most dramatic and damning accusation was the infamous missing $49.8 Billion Dollars, that went from to $12billion and then up to $20 billion and which was alleged missing from NNPC.
“Today, we all know that the PWC report that was published cleared me of any wrong doing and no one up till now has been able to controvert the PWC report nor has anyone found the “missing” 20 billion, or who took it.
“In addition, the Makarfi-led committee in the Senate of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a series of publicly-held hearings, also vindicated me on the matter of the purportedly missing funds.

She said: “I would like to state for the record that I performed my duty as Minister of Petroleum Resources with the utmost sincerity and sense of responsibility, ensuring that all Nigerians irrespective of creed, gender or tribe enjoyed their rightful benefits from the Oil and Gas Sector.
“It is pertinent to note that at the end of my tenure, I left behind in the LNG dividend fund, for the incoming Administration, the sum of $5.6billion (five billion six hundred million US Dollars)(Annex-6A).
“I did this to ensure continuity in the crucial gas sector development which underpins the entire Power and Energy Sector and which was and still is, absolutely imperative for the Country’s current and future economic development.”
Regarding Malabu oil block (OPL 245) , the ex-Minister said her was a “purely statutory one as required by Law in the Petroleum Act.”
She said she did not benefit in any way from the transactions or negotiations on the oil block.
She said: “With regards to the various news reports published in both the online and print media, insidiously inferring that I was indicted by Italian prosecutors for, as they put it, ‘ sharing in the Loot’ of the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block deal that involved Malabu and the Joint Venture Multinational partners, ENI(AGIP) and Royal Dutch Shell.
“Let me once again state for the record that this is another figment of the author’s imagination, which given the persistent bid to ensure my destruction and stick all of the sins of the Corruption plagued Oil and Gas Sector of over the last 30years upon my head, probably emanated from the EFCC itself!
“Let me clarify the position are the history of OPL 245, otherwise known as Malabu. You will find a full chronology in the attached report that I made to the House of Representatives in late 2011 (Annex 2A/Annex-2B).
“In 2010, shortly after I was appointed as Minister of Petroleum Resources, the issue of OPL 245 was brought to my attention.
“I looked into the case and immediately became aware of the inherent and long standing sensitivities around this issue.
“It became clear from the onset that this case was not within the direct purview of the Minister of Petroleum Resources but in the main was centered around issues of Law.
“By this time there was already an ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) investigation and claims against the FGN running into billions of dollars.
“Therefore, we took directives from the Chief Legal Officer of the nation; the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. In all of these matters due process was followed to the letter at all times.
“I wish to categorically state that I have never held any discussions on this matter with any individuals or entities outside of official channels.
“As Minister of Petroleum Resources, I did not participate in any activity relating to financial payments on the Malabu matter, other than those statutorily mandated to the Minister of Petroleum Resources by the Petroleum Act.
“My role in this matter was a purely statutory one as required by Law in the Petroleum Act.”
In an emotional tone, Diezani expressed confidence that she will be vindicated at the end of the ongoing investigations at home and in the UK.
She added: “It is saddening that after eight years of serving my country, my experience as a public servant has been fraught with continuous malicious castigation and character assassination, all in the name of ‘personal vendettas’ or political horse trading.
“It has become apparent to many that these untruths told were at best well-crafted fables.
“The most dramatic and damning accusation was the infamous missing $49.8 Billion Dollars, that went from to $12billion and then up to $20 billion and which was alleged missing from NNPC.
“Today, we all know that the PWC report that was published cleared me of any wrong doing and no one up till now has been able to controvert the PWC report nor has anyone found the “missing” 20 billion, or who took it.
“In addition, the Makarfi-led committee in the Senate of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a series of publicly-held hearings, also vindicated me on the matter of the purportedly missing funds.
“Yet, we are all silent as if these events never occurred! The allegations that I have addressed above are no different, the character assassination continues, this time with a new set of hirelings.
“One of the basic tenets of the human trait is that we all have shortcomings and we all make our fair share of mistakes, whether we are in positions of leadership, or not.
“However, one error that cannot be ascribed to me is stealing from Nigeria and defrauding my country!
“It is therefore sad and distressing that in spite of all that I tried to do in the best interest of our nation, I continue to be faced with constant demonisation, unproven accusations and deeply personal insults.
“In response I have chosen not to insult, accuse or demonise anyone, any person or persons. In spite of all the allegations that have been made against me, not one has been factually proven.
“I remain very proud of the fact that all the policies, tenets and plans that I initiated in the Oil & Gas sector are still underpinning the entire structure.
“This is because they were put in place with the good of the entire nation and its people in mind. They were not factional, or tribal, neither were they based on religious bias.
“I can therefore, no longer sit back and allow the fabricated accusations against my person designed by unscrupulous persons with a vengeful agenda go unchallenged.
“As a Christian, it is my sincerely held belief that in the coming months, history will be the judge of exactly who lied and who told the truth. By the Grace of God, I shall be here to see the day when truth prevails.
“The fight against corruption in Nigeria will be far better served if the EFCC focuses on incontrovertible facts, as opposed to media sensationalism and completely distorted stories, in their bid to demonize and destroy a few specially chosen Nigerians.”

Posted On Sunday, 22 January 2017 01:14 Written by
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