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    Monday, April 27, 2015

    Fear Grips Politicians As Buhari Vows To Clean NNPC “mess”

    Nigeria’s President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari has sent shivers down the spines of corrupt politicians, especially those in the oil industry, following his insistence on probing into the sleaze in the country’s main source of economy.

    The country’s oil industry, which is under the control of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is believed to have been enmeshed in deep corruption for the past 16 years.

    Apart from the oil subsidy, which many allege to be a drain pipe, the Corporation has questions to answer on issues bordering on unremitted funds.

    Before his election, Buhari had given respite to corrupt politicians when he announced during one of his campaign rallies, that every “sin” committed before May 29 hand-over date, will be forgiven.

    Apart from Buhari, the national Chairman of his party, the APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun had also at one of his pre-election speeches, mainatained that a Buhari presidency will not dig into the past.

    Oyegun had then said that the insinuation that a Buhari presidency will send many Nigerians to jail, was a blackmail being masterminded by the PDP leadership, stressing that only those who may not want to change from their corrupt practices will have the retired General to contend with.

    “The only people I think should fear the Buhari Presidency are those who do not want change. Those who want to continue with business as usual, are those who want to continue to profit from the level of corruption in the society. We will have no apologies for people like that. But it is clear that from the Buhari perspective and that of the APC, the future of the people of this country is too important for us to spend valuable time trying to dig into the past.

    valuable time trying to dig into the past.


    “The first moments of a Buhari Presidency the outlook is on the future. The message will be clear, whatever you engage in before that is detrimental to the people of this country, please stop it, change has come. It is time for change and anybody who decides that he does not want to be part of change and want business as usual that is his choice.

    However, all that have changed as the retired General made a u-turn over the weekend, vowing that his administration would probe the $20 billion allegedly missing from the coffers of the NNPC.

    DAILY POST recalls that former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, now Kano Emir, Sanusi Lamido, had raised the alarm over the alleged missing fund. The alarm cost Sanusi his job as he was removed un-ceremoniously.

    President Goodluck Jonathan had also at one of his media chats insisted that no such fund was missing from the NNCP coffers.

    However, a former CBN governor, Prof. Charles Soludo equally joined in pointing the present government at the face- accusing it of squandering the nation’s oil resources.

    With pressures and many fingers on its face, the Jonathan-led government had called for an independent probe into the alleged corrupt activities at the NNPC.

    The NNPC and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company were later indicted by the investigative forensic audit done by PriceWaterHouse Coopers into the allegations of unremitted funds to the Federation Accounts.

    In the reports released by the Auditor General for the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura, in Abuja, the accounting firm asked both organisations to refund to the federation account “a minimum of $1.48bn.”

    Speaking on Sunday when he played host to a delegation from Adamawa State led by the state’s governor-elect, Bindow Jibrilla, in his campaign secretariat, Mr. Buhari said although he received information that some persons already started returning money to government coffers, he would only believe it when he “sees it”.

    “I heard that some people have started refunding money, but I will not believe until I see it.

    “His royal highness, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was removed from the Central bank because he said that about $20 billion was missing, instead of the government to investigate the matter, they refused, instead they sacked him. As God will have it, he is now the Emir of Kano and that is exactly what he wants to be.

    “He has already written all the detail report on it, the incoming government will not ignore it, even though we have promised to draw a line, but $20 billion is too big to ignore. This is Nigerian money and it must be investigated,” Mr. Buhari said.

    Apart from the probe, Reuters Agency had also recently reported that Buhari’s administration will replace the top management of the NNPC.

    It will also review the accounts of the oil company to restore credibility, Reuters said, quoting sources within Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). It said the new government will submit a bill to break the NNPC into four entities, as already prescribed in the latest PIB draft. One APC source told Reuters that the Bill “will also, crucially, remove the oil minister from the NNPC’s board of directors to curb political interference.”

    Others said more generally that the minister’s current powers would be heavily trimmed. Oil and gas will have separate companies for upstream, with a third covering pipelines and refining, while a fourth will be an inspectorate.

    The proposal, according to the report, could be submitted to parliament in the first quarter of next year, one parliamentary APC source said. The NNPC Management is made up of Group Managing Director Dr. Joseph T. Dawha; Group Executive Director, Finance & Accounts Mr. Bernard O.N. Otti; Group Executive Director, Corporate Services Dr. Dan Efebo, and Member, Alhaji Abdullahi Bukar, who make up the Board.

    Similarly, the APC in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, decried the reported allegations of last-minute looting of the nation’s resources, hurried recruitment into the public service and rushed privatization of key financial institutions by the Jonathan Administration, warning that such egregious actions will have serious repercussions

    The party said apart from the instances of such cases that have been reported by the local media, it has been inundated with calls and messages by concerned Nigerians, alerting it to the unscrupulous actions of some Jonathan Administration officials.

    It said while the Jonathan Administration remains in office till midnight of May 28th and governance in the country will not stop because a new President has been elected, it is incumbent upon the outgoing Administration not to create any more problems for the incoming government than it had already done, or to tie the new government’s hands through some suspicious actions.

    APC said while it is true that the incoming Buhari Administration will not get itself bogged down by an endless probe of the activities of the Jonathan Administration, all actions taken since the result of the May 28th presidential election was announced may come under the searchlight.

    ”For example, the National Council on Privatization, which is headed by the Vice President, has just approved the financial bid opening for transaction advisers for the privatization of the three Development Finance Institutions in the country – the Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry and Nigeria Commodity Exchange. The question is: What is the rationale for rushing this exercise with just weeks left for this administration?

    ”Also, there have been reports, yet unrefuted, of a planned hurried recruitment into the Nigeria Immigration Service, after a previous attempt ended in a national tragedy and the fleecing of innocent job seekers by mindless federal government officials. Apart from the fact that this last-minute recruitment is suspect, it is irregular.

    ”The Civil Defense, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board (CDFIPSB) is only empowered to recruit, promote and discipline only senior officers (levels 8 and above). The power to recruit, promote and discipline junior officers is vested in the different services, in this case the Nigeria Immigration Service.

    ”Therefore, the recruitment exercise now being conducted by the Federal Civil Service under the auspices of the Presidential Committee to Assist on Immigration Recruitment usurps the functions of the Board as it relates to recruitment of Senior Officers (level 08) and that of the Immigration Service as it relates to Junior Officers (levels 07
    and below),” the party said.

    It also called attention to a published report that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, plans to use the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to carry out a secret employment of no fewer than 500 workers before the end of April 2015.

    ”We do not know if this report, as well as others, is true. But if indeed these rushed privatizations and hurried recruitment exercises – in the twilight of the Jonathan Administration – are true, they raise serious questions concerning the reasons behind such actions. We are therefore compelled to call on President Jonathan to call his
    Administration officials to order, lest they engage in actions that can later embarrass his Administration

    ”This is against the backdrop of the precarious situation into which the Jonathan Administration has plunged the nation’s economy, no thanks to years of ceaseless and unprecedented profligacy by the outgoing Administration, as well as mind-boggling acts of corruption and looting of the public treasury by some Administration officials
    and their collaborators,” APC said

    With these developments, a source within the NNPC told DAILY POST that there is serious anxiety among the top leadership of the corporation.

    “Everybody in the oil industry is afraid over Buhari’s u-turn; there was relief in the industry when he said he would probe corrupt activities that took place before May 29, but his decision to now probe the missing N20b has changed all that.

    “It is clear that he may even go beyond that missing N20b because the NNPC is a terrain he knows very well. So, he has put all politicians, especially those in the oil industry, on their nerves”, he stated.

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