How Nigeria Looses Billions of Dollars to Shady Oil Deals – Report

* Nigeria loses out on $29 bln on cut-price gas deals-report

* State-oil company sells itself cheap oil and gas

* Oil ministers hand out discretionary oil licences

* Hundreds of millions in missing bonuses, royalties

* Traders buy crude oil “without formal contracts”

By Joe Brock

ABUJA, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Nigeria lost out on tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues over the last decade from cut price deals struck between multinational oil companies
and government officials, a confidential report seen by Reuters
says.

A team headed by the former head of the anti-corruption agency Nuhu Ribadu produced the 146-page study on an oil ministry request. It covers the year 2002 to the present.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil exporter, shipping more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd), and is also home to the world’s ninth biggest gas reserves and one of its largest
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals.

The report provides new details on Nigeria’s long history of corruption in the oil sector, which has enriched its elite and provided the oil majors with hefty profits while two thirds of
people live in poverty.

Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke told Reuters on Tuesday she had received the report last month but that it was a draft and the government was still supposed to give input. The one
seen by Reuters was labelled “Final Report.”

The report concluded that oil majors Shell, Total and Eni made bumper profits from cut-price
gas, while Nigerian oil ministers handed out licenses at their own discretion. This, while not illegal, did not follow best practice of using open bids. Hundreds of millions of dollars in
signature bonuses on those deals were also missing, it said.

“We have not seen this report and are, therefore, unable to comment on the content, but we will study it if and when it is published,” a Shell spokesman said.

The report alleges international oil traders sometimes buy crude without any formal contracts, and the state oil firm had short-changed the Nigerian treasury billions over the last 10
years by selling crude oil and gas to itself below market rates.

There was no suggestion that the oil majors or traders had done anything illegal, but the report highlighted a lack of transparency in their dealings in a nation rife with graft.

“It is a draft,” Alison-Madueke said. “There will be some areas where the government … may have a slightly different opinion … (and) will put its point of view to the committee.”

She said she expects the final report to be with President Goodluck Jonathan within two weeks.

MISSING BILLIONS

Ribadu’s probe was among several set up following a week of nationwide strikes against a rise in fuel prices in January, which morphed into a campaign against oil corruption.

Billions of dollars of revenue was missing in unpaid debts from signature bonuses and royalties, the report found.

Nigeria LNG, a company jointly owned by the NNPC, Shell, Total and Eni had paid the country for gas at cut-down prices before exporting it to international markets, the report said.

Total and Eni declined to comment because they invest in but do not operate Nigeria LNG, the role played by Shell.

“The estimated cumulative of the deficit between value obtainable on the international market and what is currently being obtained from NLNG, over the 10 year period, amounts to
approximately $29 billion,” the report said.

It also said foreign oil firms had outstanding debts.

Addax, now a unit of China’s state-owned Sinopec, owes Nigeria $1.5 billion in unpaid royalties, part of a $3 billion black hole of unpaid bonuses and royalties owed by oil firms.

Addax did not respond to requests for comment, but the report noted it disputes owing the signature bonuses.

Shell owes Nigeria’s government 137.57 billion naira ($874 million) for gas sold from its Bonga deep offshore field, the report said, while oil majors owed $58 million between them for
gas flaring penalties. They were also not adhering to newer higher fines.

The probe also said Nigeria was the only nation to sell all its crude through international oil traders rather than directly to refineries, adding that such trades were often opaque.

INFORMAL TRADING

It said some international oil traders who were not “on the approved master list of customers” had been sold crude oil “without a formal contract” so little could be obtained about
the details of these deals, which can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“This logically will serve to reduce margins obtainable on sale of crude oil,” the report said.

But Alison-Madueke disputed this, saying there are no informal contracts and there is “an official tender put out every year”, which can be seen by the public in newspapers.

The state oil firm gets an allocation of 445,000 bpd of crude oil to refine locally but it has been selling itself this oil at cut-down prices, a practice which cost Nigeria $5 billion
in potential revenue between 2002-2011, the report said.

“NNPC buys at international rates,” Alison-Madueke retorted.

The report said the NNPC made 86.6 billion naira over the 10-year period by using overly generous exchange rates in its declarations to the government. There was no sign of the money.

Nigerian oil ministers between 2008-2011 handed out seven discretionary licences but there is $183 million in signature bonuses missing from the deals, the report said. Three of these
oil licences were awarded since Alison-Madueke took up her position in 2010, according to the report.

“I have not given any discretionary awards during this administration,” Alison-Madueke told Reuters, although she added that the president had the right to do so instead of using bids
if he saw fit. “That is entirely up to him,” she said.

Among the report’s recommendations were that parts of NNPC be reorganised or scrapped, an independent review of the use of traders be set up and a transparency law be passed requiring oil
companies to disclose all payments made to Nigeria.

U.S. regulators put new rules in place in August that will require U.S.-listed oil and gas companies to disclose payments they make to foreign governments like Nigeria.
($1 = 157.4000 naira)
– Reuters

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Saudi Arabia Deports 150 Female Nigerian Pilgrims

KANO (Reuters) – Saudi authorities have deported 150 female Nigerian pilgrims and detained another 1,000 because they came unaccompanied by men, Nigeria’s government announced on Wednesday.

Mohammed Bello, chairman of Nigeria’s national haj, or Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, said 150 women on one flight had been stopped at the airport for “lack of … lawful male accompanying pilgrim”.

“This ugly development continued with subsequent flights that arrived at the kingdom,” he said, adding that 1,000 were still being held at the airport in Jeddah.

Women in Saudi Arabia are regarded as minors and require the permission of their guardian – father, brother, or husband – to leave the country, receive some kinds of medical treatment or work. They are not allowed to drive and are usually expected to be accompanied by a male chaperone.

Nigeria has some 80 million Muslims. Many practice a relaxed version of Islam, but even in stricter northern states that impose sharia law, women can usually move around freely on their own.

A group of the women arrived in tears back at Nigeria’s airport in Kano, the largely Muslim north’s biggest city.

“We were not given water to drink; there was no food for us and we remained glued on our seats in our aircraft for all those hours,” said Hajia Amina Musa, as she broke down and wept.

Nigeria’s parliament resolved to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia to “interface with the Saudi authorities over the issues surrounding the detained Nigerian female pilgrims”.

Alhaji Laminu Rabi’u, head of the Kano Pilgrims Board, described the deportations as “condemnable”.

All Muslims who are able are required to perform the haj at least once, as one of the five pillars of Islam.

The number of people taking part has risen dramatically over the last 80 years from around 20,000 in 1932 to nearly three million in 2011.

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Cross River Governor’s Wife, Obioma Imoke Dying of Tape Worm Infections – Indian Doctors

National Enquirer Magazine has reported a popular saying that poverty doesn’t ever kill, but riches do.

That’s exactly the situation with one of the wives of a Nigerian governor who`s presently biting her fingers for looking for comforter when she’s comfortably off.

It is a story of the First Lady of Cross Rivers State, Obioma Liyel-Imoke who’s said to be dying of an infection caused by tapeworm ingested in her system by some Indian specialists 2 years ago during one of her adventures to cut her size.

It would be recalled that, the wealthy woman who owns the popular ValueMart in Victoria Island, Lagos was a size 18 before her husband became the governor of Cross Rivers State and no sooner the handsome man was sworn in than the wife, Obioma began shopping for suitable specialist hospital abroad where she could burn excess fat and reduce her size drastically to allow her compete probably with girls in the range of 12-14.

She made a fantastic appearance when she walked majestically on stage in 2010 during her speech on the debut ceremony of the Calabar festival which was held in Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, she was really looking dashing in a lovely size 14 gown, her cute and lovely physique was no doubt the subject of the day amongst society ladies in attendance as they were all marveled at the mystique behind her reduction from size 18 to 14.

She has since then dazzled in several events turning heads with her skin which is always festooned in expensive ornaments like diamond, gold and the likes coupled with top of the range designer wears, bags, wrist watches and what have you.

Two years down the line, we gathered reliably that Obioma allegedly began to emaciate, at first, she was enjoying it as she was even said to be preparing to shop for a smaller size before bubble burst recently.

Dependable sources who’re feeling her pulse have disclosed that, the woman is not finding it funny as she now suffers pain in her bone marrow and some of her joints, this was what eventually informed her decision to go back to the hospital in Indian where she heard the shocking news of her life.

According to inside sources, the doctors were said to have been so mad at Obioma for refusing to keep to instructions after her liposuction surgery in 2010. We were reliably informed that, she had been asked to come back in 3 months after the Tapeworm had been ingested into her system because the parasite was only meant to burn fat in her bowel for some months after which the treatment continues but the moment the wife of the Governor saw the wonder of the blade, she forgot to go back to complete her treatment.

We however tried to get in touch with the people we know at the Cross Rivers State Government House but the response we got is that the Governor has changed everybody on that beat and the new people are not on ground yet. Our source who’s very close to Mrs Liyel-Imoke has promised to keep informing us as events unfold.

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Diezani Madueke’s N800billion Subsidy Fraud Exposed

The last of the oil subsidy saga may have not been heard. This is according to firsthand information recently made available to 247ureports.com through sources within the presidency indicating the secret doors within the presidency may have been cracked open due to internal wrangling between factions – who have begun revealing dirty and secrets financial deal of persons within the presidency.

Among the first revelations on the chopping block were the financial activities of the Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Allison Madueke in tandem with the Chief of Staff to the President. According to the information received, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] had performed a preliminary background checks on the financial activities of federal ministers and aides attached to the presidency. The preliminary investigation was conducted during the height of the protests associated with the said removal of oil subsidy on petrol. The presidential source indicated that the EFCC had reacted under pressure exerted by the heated polity in the various regions of the country.

The findings of the EFCC, according to the source, were presented to President Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan, upon his request. And upon inspection of the file contents, the President wept openly. “He became weak” said the source who went on to explain that the content of the file indicted the Federal Minister of Petroleum and the Chief of Staff to the President – as having siphoned monies through fictitious oil companies that were given fraudulent subsidies worth in excess of N800billion. Both Presidential aides were found to have enriched themselves through the fake oil companies which were awarded huge sums of subsidy for the importation of non-existent petroleum products. Information available to 247ureports.com did not disclose the identities of the oil companies.

In particular, the President was said to have reacted in a manner that surprised the investigators. It was gathered that Mr. President was unhappy with the findings largely because of the personalities involved. The President was reported to have hesitated towards acting on the findings. “It will tire the nucleus of his administration – and result to an unpleasant and embarrassing outcome for the entire presidency”.

In an attempt at damage control, the Presidency requested for the entire records on the investigation. He proceeded to place a gag order on the EFCC file. It remains unsure to 247ureports.com the location of the EFCC file but it is certain the presidency had requested for the entire materials associated with the investigation.

247ureports


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FG Names Oil Marketers Recommended For Criminal Investigation

Miffed by the decision of oil marketers to cripple the federal capital territory seat of government, the federal government today continued its name and shame propaganda campaign  against oil thieves by releasing a statement containing how much each of 25 of them recommended for criminal investigation stole from the subsidy fund sleaze.

The statement released by the federal Ministry of Finance and obtained by ireports-ng.com in Abuja showed that some of the indicted companies  claimed billions of subsidy payments for consignments brought in by ships which investigations revealed were either non-existent or were somewhere else in the world.

The table also includes a summary of the infractions, which the committee confirmed were committed by the 25 firms.

“As the information shows, some of the companies claimed payments for consignments brought in by ships, which investigations revealed were either non-existent, or were somewhere else in the world!” the government said.

While most of the companies were cited for a single infraction each, some of them had several.  They include:

•    Capital Oil & Gas Industry Limited, which has five infractions totalling almost $8.9 billion;

•    Matrix Energy Limited, five infractions totalling $6.23 billion; and

•    Nassaman Oil Services Limited, four infractions totalling $3.86 billion.

The full list is as follows:

Please find below extract of the report detailing the cases against the Twenty-Five (25) OM&Ts.

S/N OM/T INFRACTION DESCRIPTIONS  AMOUNT
1 ALMINNUR RESOURCES LIMITED  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no Longer operational at the time of transshipment and no shipping documents          504,329,535.27 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no Longer operational at the time of transshipment and no shipping documents          546,700,899.36 
       1,051,030,434.63
2 BRILLA ENERGY LIMITED  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment          963,796,199.85 
3 CAADES OIL AND GAS LTD  No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks          487,799,826.80 
4 CAPITAL OIL & GAS INDUSTRY LTD  Subsidy payments without proof of existence of the mother vessel bill of lading or daughter vessel bill of lading          984,440,711.38 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment       1,480,444,043.58 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment       1,832,280,164.36 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment       2,110,438,332.44 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment       2,490,576,987.15 
8,898,180,238.91
5 CAPITAL OIL PLC  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in the locations claimed at the time of transhipment          608,077,964.00 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in the locations claimed at the time of transhipment          608,220,553.20 
1,216,298,517.20
6 CEOTI LIMITED  Specially mentioned transactions with various infractions. Transactions were discovered to be bills for collection transactions, but as at the time of the review it was discovered that the shipping documents evidencing arrival of the products had not been submitted to the respective banks for payment:. 11/07/12 : OM/T to provide letter from their bankers confirming that they financed the transaction.       1,773,421,842.01 
7 CONOIL PLC  Subsidy payments without proof of existence of the mother vessel bill of lading or daughter vessel bill of lading       1,065,934,768.66 
Subsidy payments without proof of existence of the mother vessel bill of lading or daughter vessel bill of lading       1,882,143,309.24 
2,948,078,077.90
8 DOWNSTREAM ENERGY SOURCE LTD  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced          789,648,329.25 
Subsidy payments without the signature of external auditors and independent inspectors on shore tank certificates          984,440,711.38 
1,774,089,040.63
9 ETERNA PLC  Subsidy payments for which there were no shipping documents or evidence of payment for the products in foreign exchange. (Form ‘m’ 945404)          578,295,672.84 
No evidence of sales proceeds in the bank.          626,465,370.06 
Subsidy payments without proof of existence of mother vessel bill of Lading or Daughter bill of Lading. (Form ‘m’ 926342)          917,895,596.40 
2,122,859,123.70
10 EURAFRIC OIL & GAS LTD  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment          955,688,127.82 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment 

 

     1,306,170,995.88 
2,261,859,123.70
11 HEYDEN PETROLEUM  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment          594,714,089.31 
12 LUMEN SKIES LTD  Transactions disclaimed by banks          267,521,051.32 
Transactions disclaimed by banks          507,266,701.54 
     774,787,752.86
13 MAJOPE INVESTMENT LTD  Subsidy payments without the signature of external auditors and independent inspectors on shore tank certificates          959,813,734.22 
14 MASTER ENERGY OIL & GAS LTD  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced       1,454,308,353.50 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced       1,454,687,937.79 
   2,908,996,291.29
15 MATRIX ENERGY LIMITED  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced          560,744,384.56 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced       1,274,372,887.98 
Specially mentioned transactions with various infractions. Transactions were Bills for collection and as at the time of review no shipping document evidencing payment was available.  MAT/2031/MAS/PMS/28/09/11       1,301,904,784.71 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment. MAT/1679/MAS/PMS/27/04/11       1,501,684,359.70 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced. MAT/2031/MAS/PMS/28/09/11       1,595,095,720.20 
6,233,802,137.15
16 MENOL OIL & GAS LIMITED  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment       1,691,595,830.87 
17 MOB INTERNATIONAL SERVICES  No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks       1,019,068,114.10 
No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks       1,118,260,800.00 
2,137,328,914.10
18 MRS OIL & GAS PLC  Subsidy payments for which there were no shipping documents or evidence of payment for the products in foreign exchange       6,086,531,305.33 
19 NASAMAN OIL SERVICES LTD  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment          598,723,358.04 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment          749,991,273.36 
Subsidy payments without the signature of external auditors and independent inspectors on shore tank certificates          881,350,767.57 
No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks       1,631,342,040.93 
3,861,407,437.90
20 NATICEL PETROLEUM LIMITED  Specially mentioned transactions with various infractions. No shipping document in bank and no evidence of payment for product       1,514,333,360.64 
No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks       1,567,037,317.70 
3,081,370,678.34
21 OCEAN ENERGY TRADING & SERVICES LTD  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced  1,778,180,051.20 
22 PINNACLE CONTRACTORS LTD  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment       1,227,601,783.20 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment       1,528,044,960.84 
2,755,646,744.04
23 SIFAX OIL AND GAS COMPANY  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment  1,033,119,489.60 
24 TONIQUE OIL SERVICES LTD  No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks       1,575,014,046.51 
25 TOP OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED.  Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no Longer operational at the time of transshipment and no shipping documents  1,092,496,724.55 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessel could not be traced and no shipping documents were sighted  1,268,236,760.88 
2,360,733,485.43


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Touch Me Not, I Am In the Opposition By Abubakar Usman

Last week, I wrote a piece on the divided opinion and perception Hon. Dino Melaye has attracted among users of social media, particularly twitter as evident in the mosaic praises and insults rained on him, either for his new found love of activism or his antecedents prior to what he is now known for.

As expected, reactions to the piece depict the divide on the perception of whom and what Dino Melaye truly represents. What was however surprising is the opinion by some of the readers that anybody who has joined the opposition, particularly in the quest to rest power from the present government is enough to spare him from criticism.

I am one of those who believe that we need all hands on deck to dislodge this useless and clueless administration of President Goodluck Jonathan who has brought us “fresh Air”, but that does not automatically make everybody who wants President Jonathan out of office better than him or his government. In as much as we need every available hand to achieve our aim, we must not lose sleep over the fact that some of these people who are today claiming saints in the opposition need us also to get into power and continue from where the present government may stop in their looting spree. This is particularly so when the actions of some of these people casts doubt as to their real intention of either being in the opposition or turning activist.

We have had incidences of people who were once activists or in the opposition, but acted against the very thing they preached when they tasted power.  Chief Ebenezer Babatope popularly referred to as Ebeno Topsy was one of the right hand boys and hatchet men of Obafemi Awolowo. He used to be a fearless critic of the status quo with many of his powerful articles, but once he was appointed a Minister under General Sanni Abacha, he turned 180 degrees and became willing to compromise some of his long-held beliefs and some of the things he wrote about the Government in power at the center and their total incompetence.

24yrs ago, precisely in 1988, University of Jos had an SUG President named Labaran Maku. This man led a team of students who rioted against the plan by the then military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida to remove oil subsidy. He termed it “a crime against the Nigerian masses and a war against the poor”. That Labaran Maku is today not just the Minister for information who said the removal of oil subsidy is long overdue. “He is in fact the Minister of propaganda communication,” one of the loudest sycophants in the Jonathan’s government.

Another person worthy of mention is the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati. Abati was one of the fewest men who stood their grounds and took sides with the people just few years ago. His pen was a hot coal in the throat of the disappointment called ‘politicians’ in Nigeria. He was simply the peoples Bishop, but Abati has left his flock to fallow in the woods. Today he is the mouth piece of the reactionaries.

The question is “how long can you hold on to your belief after you must have been inducted into the team of vampires that rule over us? If you are not with them, you claim to be different, but as soon as you joined them, you turn your back to the very principle you preached against.

Femi Fani Kayode for example, was one man who tasted it all. He was at different times during Obasanjo’s tenure as president, Special Assistant (public affairs), Minister of Culture and Tourism, and then Minister of Aviation. Not minding his antecedents as one of those who spoke against the regime of General Sani Abacha, Fani Kayode turned himself into a loud mouth and the rabid attack dog of the President Obasanjo, while he served as his Special Assistant. Despite being a ‘public figure’, he was so reckless with his utterances that he even attacked the very people he teamed up with to fight Abacha. Today, Femi Fani Kayode is doing all he can do align himself with the very opposition he barked against. Like so many other politicians who lost out in the power game, Fani Kayode used the opportunity of the Occupy Nigeria protest to re launch his activism and has since taken to writing opposing articles to the Jonathan’s government. Is this the kind of person we should call an opposition activist?

The trend is simply, when you lose out in the game, you become an “opposition” figure fighting for the masses by criticising every move of the very people you teamed up with to impoverish the masses. Have we dared to find out how many of these opposition politicians in ACN, CPC, ANPP etc that were not at one time or the other, members of the PDP? Many of them are only what they are today because they have fallen out of favour and lost out of the power equation in the corrupt People’s Democratic Party-led government and therefore taken on “the opposition” mantra to salvage what is left of their dying political relevance.

I can go on and on and on, but the message we should take from all these is that our quest to wrest power from the present government should not make us lose sleep over the people whose hands we are going to entrust the next government on.  Many of us may not have the opportunity to serve in government. It is still these very people we are going to put there as president, ministers, governors etc. If we allow them to ride on our back to the center of their selfish ambition, we will have ourselves to blame.

That does not in any way mean they should not be supported to dislodge this government. If it requires us marching behind this ‘activists’ of today, just like we did during occupy Nigeria when we marched relentlessly, not minding the ulterior motive of those leading us, we must do that again, but when it becomes necessary for you to criticize some of these people, we should also not fail to do that so they will have at the back of their mind that they are dealing with informed people.

It will make no sense dissipating energy, resources and time only to wrestle power from one vampire and hand it over to another vampire.

I am Abubakar Usman

Let’s do more on twitter @MrAbuSidiq


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Port-Harcourt Named Host City of The 2012 Future Awards

The central working committee for The Future Awards is excited to announce that Port Harcourt – selected by UNESCO as the World Book Capital 2014 – is the official host city for The Future Awards 2012. The event will hold on 25th and 26th August in the Rivers State capital.

“Exciting things are happening with Port Harcourt, and we are proud that its inspiring governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has decided to support the vision of young leaders from across Nigeria by hosting this year’s event,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili who sits on the Board of The Future Awards.

The committee also announced TonyElumelu (MFR) as keynote speaker for this year’s awards. Mr. Elumelu, acknowledged globally as one of Africa’s most influential entrepreneur and the proponent of Africapitalism, is the chairman of Heirs Holdings and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Season 7 of The Future Awards was launched on May 29, and the organisers have gone around the country engaging young Nigerians, which ended with a spectacular reception for the Nominees in Lagos. The winners in all 21 categories will be unveiled at the awards event.


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Arraignment of Alleged Fuel Subsidy Thieves Suffers Another Adjournment

For the second time within 24 hours, a Lagos High Court has adjourned sitting on the hearing of the first batch of alleged fuel subsidy fraudsters suspects till August 1, after one of the accused persons failed to appear in court.

Just yesterday the court adjourned the arraignment till today due to what the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs called the absence of the controversial Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, only for it to be adjourned again today..

It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on Tuesday unveiled the first group of 20 suspected fraudsters billed for arraignment over their involvement in the subsidy scam.

Among those expected to be arraigned include Mahmud Tukur, son of the national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur and Mamman Ali, son of the believed to be the son of a former chairman of the PDP, Ahmadu Ali.

Ahmadu Ali himself was the Chairman of the board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency when most of the subsidy scams were perpetrated.

 

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Femi Gbajabiamila Blasts Critics, Says Jonathan Behind Media Report to Tarnish His Image

House of Representative Member Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has responded to his critics who brought allegations against him for his recent call on his fellow lawmakers to begin impeachment move on President Goodluck Jonathan for non compliance with the 2012 appropriation act.

Here is his press release below;

RE: CAMPAIGN AND ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MY PERSON-
HERE WE GO AGAIN!

My attention has been drawn to various newspaper paid advertisements calculated at disparaging my person and aimed at discouraging me from discharging my responsibilities as a legislator and as the leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives. To my traducers let me quickly and unequivocally state that I am not deterred but remain focused and even emboldened in my determination to continue to bring germane national issues to the fore and to hold the presidency and those in charge of our affairs accountable. Because I believe in accountability, I also must be accountable to the electorate. It is for this reason and this reason alone that I have decided to respond to a faceless and amorphous group that lack the courage to affix their names to their publications. Let me state very clearly that yes I was sanctioned by the Georgia Bar Disciplinary Board for professional misconduct and negligence due to an unfortunate ethical violation that took place about 10 years ago in 2003. There are no ifs, buts or ands about it. However here are the facts:

1. I returned to Nigeria in 2002 to prepare for party primaries and general elections. Prior to leaving the US, I had left instructions with my paralegal to close out pending files when due. He had instructions to pay my client 25000 dollars whenever her cheque was sent in. The cheque did not come in until January 2003 as the records show at which time I had already been in Nigeria for over 6 months. Unfortunately after paying in the cheque as instructed, he withdrew the money again as instructed with the cheque I had given him and he never paid the client but made away with it.
2. This did not come to my knowledge until I received a letter from the Georgia Bar in 2005. The letter was addressed to my Lagos address which I had left with the Georgia Bar as my contact address for any housekeeping matter that may arise after I might have left. It is necessary to state this as it is alleged that I absconded.
3. Upon receipt of the letter I immediately travelled to Atlanta to find out what was going on. Upon discovery of what had happened and being unable to trace the paralegal, I found myself in a bind as the disciplinary committee insisted I had violated rule 1.15 of Georgia Professional conduct pertaining to safe keeping, co-mingling of funds and allowing others to handle clients money. I accepted full responsibility and was sanctioned with a suspension. Had I anything to hide, I would not have gone back to Atlanta to clear all the issues.
4. This was a matter of not complying with strict ethical rules. At no time was I tried by any court for any criminal offence as it was never such. Attached is a letter from the State Bar of Georgia and paragraph 2 is very instructive. It should be noted that the Supreme Court of Georgia is vested with jurisdiction over professional ethics cases.
5. As evidenced in the attached letter, I am eligible to practice law in Georgia and remain in good standing. A convict can NEVER be eligible to practice law in the United States!
6. My family has always used the names Gbajabiamila and Gbaja interchangeably. For me, Gbaja was a lot easier for pronunciation in a foreign country and Gbajabiamila was more desirable for my adventure into politics for the purposes of name recognition. Any suggestion that I changed my name to avoid being traced, smacks of desperation to make a baseless allegation stick. Indeed I have maintained Gbaja as my Facebook name.
7. It should be noted that by law 33 percent of amount received is charged as legal fees by a US attorney for personal injury cases. Therefore, the amount was 25000 less than 33percent legal fees. No sane person would put his legal or political career in jeopardy for that.
8. Because of my strong belief in accountability and unknown to my traducers, I had publicly disclosed this incident to the whole world in a book (FEARLESS) about my political career that was published by Dr Wale Okediran (a renowned author) and launched June 27th of this year. I will refer this faceless group to Page 29 of the book which speaks as regards the issue. It is therefore clear that I had nothing to hide.
9. The cowardly act of this group shows unfortunately how degenerate our politics has become. To the discerning, it is clear where these attacks are coming from and indeed a crying shame that an elected representative can no longer speak freely in defense of those who elected him and in the interest of the country. I find it rather curious that these attacks came on the heels (only 3 days) of my moving for articles of impeachment against Mr President come September 18 if the proper thing is not done and the constitution and laws of the country continue to be violated. At no time did I ever think taking on a powerful office would be a tea party or would not produce virulent attacks. Such would be naivety on my part. However I am propelled by the belief that the hottest part of hell is reserved for those who say nothing when they should.

I wish to state that I have never prophesied to be saintly neither have I paraded myself as perfect. However my imperfections should not and will not stop me from doing that which is right. I have always believed and still do, that a mandate is not fulfilled upon election, rather it is fulfilled in standing up after the election to speak for the people who gave you that mandate. I have been given a mandate three times and I will continue to do the bidding of the owners of my mandate.

For the avoidance of doubt let me repeat my comments on the floor of the House just 5 days ago: “I like my President, but I like my people and my country more. If Mr President does not implement the budget 100% by September 18, this House must begin to file articles of impeachment against him” To this faceless group my position has not changed.

I must also remind Mr President that it is on record that I fought tirelessly for him to be made the Acting President in this country and I was the first and only legislator to move a motion to that effect on the floor when it was difficult to do so. It is with that same passion that I will continue to push that he obeys the laws of the land. That is my job. No more no less, and for that I have no apologies.

I have stated my case now let the President state his. Now as we were saying Mr President Sir before the debate was rudely interrupted by these guys, where is the peoples’ money?

HON FEMI GBAJABIAMILA
LEADER OF OPPOSITION
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
NIGERIA

 

 

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Dud Cheques: EFCC Arraigns Thompson Aguheva

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on July 25, 2012, arraigned the Chief Executive Officer of Tafag Nigeria Limited, Engr Thompson O Aguheva, before Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory , sitting in Apo, Abuja , on a two count charge of issuing a dud of about five point seven million naira (N5.7m).
Count one of the two count charge reads: “That you Engineer Thompson O Aguheva, being the Chief Executive Officer of Tafag Nigeria Limited and (2) Tafag Nigeria limited, a company registered in Nigeria on or about the 19th day of September 2010 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did obtain credit by issuing an Equitorial Trust Bank Cheque no. 08477711 dated 19th September 2010 for Two Million, One Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety Naira (N2,126,590.00) in favour of Bedochi Guest House Limited, which cheque when presented for payment within three months of issuance, was dishonoured due to insufficient fund in the account to cover the face value of the cheques and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1)(b) of the Dishonoured Offences Act and punishable under Section 1(1)(b)(i)(ii) of the same Act”.
Aguheva’s ordeal followed a petition to the EFCC by the management of Bedochi Guest House complaining of his failure to pay up his indebtedness to the Guest House after staying as a guest for about two years. Specifically, Aguheva wrote an undertaking dated September 9, 2011 to the management of the Guest House that he would liquidate his debts within three months effective September 30, 2011, but he reneged on his promise. The two cheques he had issued earlier were dishonoured by Equitorial Trust Bank.
On April 29, 2011, Aguheva issued an Equitorial Trust Bank Cheque no 0847730 for Three Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira (N3, 669,130.00) in favour of Bedochi Guest House Limited which cheque when presented for payment within three months of issuance was dishonoured due to insufficient fund to cover the face value of the cheque. He had on September 19, 2010, issued an Equitorial Trust Bank Cheque no 08477711 for Two Million, One Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety Naira (N2, 126,590.00) in favour of Bedochi Guest House Limited which cheque when presented for payment within three months of issuance was dishonoured due to insufficient fund in the account to cover the face value of the Dishonoured Cheques.
When the charges were read to him, he pleaded not guilty, a development which made the Prosecution Counsel, Barrister Michael O. Nzekwe to urge the court to remand the accuse person in prison custody till the next adjourned date.
But Defence Counsel, Gabriel Obunezi, made an appeal for bail on the grounds that the accused will be available for trial. He further argued that his client has health challenge as he is hypertensive adding that the court should take cognisance of the fact that the crime is bailable.
Nzekwe, while opposing the application for bail, noted that the court is a court of record and the application for bail should come formally and in writing. He also told the court that the accused person had jumped bail for over 5 months. “Considering the extent the prosecution went in ensuring the arrest of the accused, I strongly oppose granting of bail; but if the court must grant bail, it should be on strict conditions”, he prayed.
The judge however granted bail to the accused in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum. The court further ruled that the surety, who must swear to affidavit of means, must be within the jurisdiction of the court. “He must be a responsible Nigerian with statutory landed properties with Certificate of Occupancy, evidence of tax payment as of when due for the past 3 years”, Justice Adeniyi said.
While adjourning the case to October 22 and 23, 2012, for trial, the judge said that the accused be taken to Kuje prison pending the fulfilment of the bail condition.

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President Jonathan Approves Appointment of New NPA MD & Executive Directors for NPA/NIMASA

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Mr. Habibu Abdullahi as the new Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Mr. Abdullahi replaces Engr. Omar Suleiman who has been relieved of his appointment.
The new Managing Director hails from Kano State and was the Acting Executive Director (Finance & Administration) of the NPA. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Masters Degree in Public Administration.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati listed other appointment approved by the president to include three new Executive Directors for the Nigerian Ports Authority. They are Engr. David Omonibeke (Executive Director, Marine & Operations); Mr. Mohammmed Sani Saleh (Executive Director, (Engineering & Technical Services); and Mr. Olumide Oduntan, Executive Director, Finance & Administration).
Other appointments approved by the President are three new Executive Directors for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). They are Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Executive Director, (Maritime Safety & Shipping Development); Barrister Obi Callistus Nwabueze, (Executive Director, Maritime Labour & Cabotage Services); and Mr. Baba Haruna Jauro, (Executive Director, Finance & Administration).
All the appointments are with immediate effect.

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FG Did Not Buy Cars for African First Ladies’ Summit – Presidency

The Presidency has refuted reports particularly in Daily Trust Newspaper that the Federal Government bought 200 exotic cars for the African Leader First Ladies Summit.

This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Rueben Abati, who described the described the report as utterly false and misleading.

This denial by the Presidency however contradicts the statement by Mr Ifeanyi Nihe, spokesman for Coscharis Motors who reportedly supplied the 200 exotic cars. While Abati said the Coscharis Motors offered to provide some cars for the event at no cost to the organizers
The African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) Mr Nihe according to the report by Daily Trust said that the company had supplied vehicles to the Federal Government but refused to state the number and cost.

Could it then be that Mr Nihe cannot declare differentiate between the Federal government from the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM).

Below is the full text of the statement from the Presidency.
PRESIDENCY REFUTES REPORT THAT 200 CARS WERE BOUGHT FOR FIRST LADIES’ SUMMIT
The Presidency has noted with dismay, the utterly false and misleading claim in the lead report in today’s edition of the Daily Trust newspaper that the Federal Government has purchased 200 new “exotic” cars for the African First Ladies Summit which formally opens in Abuja tomorrow.
The true facts of the matter are as follows:
The African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) which is holding its summit in Abuja is a Non-Governmental Organisation. Its activities are funded by stakeholders and members of the private sector who support and identify with its objectives.
In accordance with its modus operandi, the AFLPM set up several committees, including a finance committee to raise funds and sponsorship for the organization of its Abuja Summit.
As part of its own contributions to the successful hosting of the summit by the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, Coscharis Motors Ltd offered to provide some cars for the event at no cost to the organizers or the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Under an agreement signed by the committee and Coscharis Motors, all the cars will be returned to the company after the summit.
As indicated in the body of the report, the editors of Daily Trust were apparently well aware that they had no facts to support the claim in their banner headline that the Federal Government bought the cars in question.
Daily Trust admits in the report that it could not confirm if the cars were “bought outright or hired” yet it went ahead to publish the totally unsubstantiated headline claim – “FG BUYS 200 CARS FOR FIRST LADIES SUMMIT”.
It is highly regrettable that the Editors of the Daily Trust rushed to publish a completely erroneous report, the falsity of which should have been apparent to them.
Their very unprofessional and unethical decision to publish the unverifiable allegation can only be construed as another attempt to incite public anger against the Presidency and the Federal Government.
Reuben Abati
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
July 25, 2012

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