By: Ifeanyi Izeze
Does it mean thesense of shame has been completely lost in this country by
people holdingpositions of trust in and around government? How do you
reconcile that some highly-placedindividuals can come out to say there
were no issues of contract awards raisedby the Minister of State
Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu in his leaked memo toPresident Mohammadu Buhari
who also doubles as the substantive PetroleumMinister? The broad day lies
being dangled by the government and its agents to changethe actual colour
and content of the leaked memo, is it not outright corruptionin itself?
If thearrangements previously referred to as Offshore Crude Oil Processing
Agreements(OPAs) and Crude-for-Products Exchange and now known as Direct
Sale-DirectPurchase Agreements (DSDP), are not contracts for crude oil
lifting in exchangefor imported petrol and diesel, what are they- cha cha
What exactly istransparent in a deal where crony local companies obviously
connected topoliticians in the ruling party are paired with multinationals
simply tocollect rent and share with political elites in government?
Just see thefumbling of a mendacious bunch: Kachikwu in his memo alleged
that Baru awardedcontracts worth about $25 billions without recourse to
the board, or FederalExecutive Council (FEC).
Buhari orderedBaru to respond to Kachikwu’s allegations. The NNPC boss in
his original response,did not deny awarding the controversial oil
contracts but rather insisted thathe does not require Kachikwu’s nor the
board’s approvals to enter into suchcontracts which are part of daily the
running of the nation’s apex oil concern.
Spokesperson tothe Vice President, Laolu Akande either was pushed or
willingly accepted toannounce that his boss, Prof Osinbajo actually
approved two of thecontroversial oil contracts while the president was
attending to his ill healthin London. The Vice President came out few
hours later to deny what hisspokesperson said and disclosed he never
approved any oil contract but loansfor Joint Venture cash calls which is
even an entirely different story and adiscussion for another day.
The last scenethus far was that the Presidency last Sunday, totally
dismissed reports that$25bn worth of oil contracts were awarded by the
Nigerian National PetroleumCorporation (NNPC) saying “a closer lookat
each of the said projects indicate clearly that “these are not
Is this storynot becoming increasingly interesting? First version, Buhari
signed contractwhile in London; Second version Osinbajo signed the
contract; Latest version,Presidency says no contract anywhere.Haba! How
did we get to this point in the governance of this country?
Even Baruadmitted awarding the controversial contracts, while Osinbajo
clarified therole he played. So how come spin doctors are coming to tell
us there were noissues of contract awards with the associated fraud and
As my Warri people would say:Bros see explanation by the Presidency: “When
you look diligently at thereferenced projects/transactions one by one, you
will see, as NNPC has shown,that none of them was actually a procurement
contract. Take the Crude TermContract and the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase
(DSDP) agreements, for instance,these are not procurement contracts
involving the expenditure of public funds.It is therefore wrong and
misleading to refer to them as though they’recontracts involving the
expenditure of NNPC funds, or public funds of anysort.” ‘Chai, who do
You see ourcountry! So Kachikwu lied in his memo; Baru lied in his initial
response thatBuhari approved with dates the contracts while in bed in
London; and the vicepresident through his spokesperson initially lied or
made a mistake in sayinghe approved two of the contracts? Couldn’t it have
been better if Nigerianswere dished with one turn-key corporate lie rather
than these pockets ofunintelligent rations?
How could thepresidency say there were no contracts procured by NNPC based
on the leakedmemo by the Minister of State for Petroleum? Saying that such
impressions weremaliciously created was an outright insult to our
sensibility as a nation. DidOsinbajo not read Kachikwu’s letter with the
itemised sub-headings undercontracts? Was it maliciously created by the
press or the opposition? Was itnot Kachikwu who in his memo described
these deals as contracts? So theminister does not know what a contract is?
How can you then turn around to sayit was maliciously created by the press
and the opposition? The dealshighlighted under that heading, if they are
not contracts, what are they- cha-cha?
The fuel subsidyscam of the Jonathan era, were they not mostly crude oil
lifting deals similarto these ones by Baru? And you aretelling us these
are not contracts. Any business transaction between entitiesmore
especially the government is a contract because there are
contractualobligations to be fulfilled by the parties and profits/benefits
to be derivedfrom such arrangements.
Ibe Kachikwulisted concerns up to the tune of $25 billion and the only
thing Baru and thePresidency could do is to paint a cover up. If Osinbajo
agreed that he signedfor Baru some loan deals for joint venture cash call
obligation, how muchexactly did he approved and what percentage is the
approved money (loans) inthe $25 billion sum total of the secret
contracts? How much is the vicepresident’s approval covering for these
scams? As the VP has agreed he approvedN640 billion which is just about $2
billion for JV cash calls, who approved thebalance of over $23 billion for
Baru and his NNPC?
Saying thatthese contracts are not about public funds is outright rubbish.
It is not aboutpublic funds, it is about deals that has remained the drain
pipe of the massivecorruption in the NNPC and the entire Nigerian oil
sector. Does anybody getinto a deal without expecting to make profit and
it is in these “profits” thatour oil monies have been stolen massively by
those in and around government. Soby telling us that these deals are not
paid for in cash is simply insulting ourintelligence.
A lot of thesedeals are paid for through crude oil liftings. You ask a
contractor to come andlift the oil equivalent of his money in the deal, is
the contractor going to dischargethe oil in his recreational swimming
pool? Is he not going to sell the oil tomake money to cover his expenses
and profits? Everything we call corruption inNigeria come from deals like
this where people in and around government build-intheir criminal
interests rather than our collect interests as a nation.
Meanwhile, thesubstantive minister of petroleum who should take
responsibility and account tous what really transpired has remained dead
silent on this matter.
It will shockNigerians to know that what is involved in this racket is
over 600, 000 barrelsof crude oil on daily basis being picked by
international traders in exchangefor imported petrol and diesel alone.
This is the same NNPC that wants us tobelieve that the nation’s three and
half refineries have been working at over65 percent cumulative capacity
Now that thebubble is bursting in the ongoing fraud, the NNPC has come out
to inform usthat the Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna refineries have been
shut down forTurn-Around-Maintenance. Has it ever happened in this country
that the threeplants will be shut down at the same day for TAM and does it
even make a soundengineering management sense? The truth is that the
refineries were not workingin the first instance. That a plant is flamed
-up like what Kaduna does dailydoes not mean it is processing anything.
Ofcourse how can our refineriesprocess anything when it is more lucrative
in Nigeria to do deals and collectrents. God help Nigeria!
(IFEANYI IZEZE writes from Abuja and can be reachedon: firstname.lastname@example.org;