Why oil cabals are after me, Alison-Madueke
Says report on exile is false
IN her first major public reaction to media scrutiny about her tenure as Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke yesterday, said that she has been persecuted by those she called ‘cabals in the oil industry’ who were not happy about the reforms she had introduced into the sector in the overall interest of majority of Nigerians.
And for those peddling rumours that she was seeking asylum for yet-to-be identified offences, the minister said they would be disappointed.
Blaming such reports on agents of international oil cabals who, she said have been disallowed from milking the country dry, using their local agents.
The minister said she had no intention of going anywhere, because she has not committed any crime.
She has also decried insinuations that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was delaying to remit to government the $1.48 billion (N294.5 billion) uncovered by a recent forensic audit, adding that remittance had started.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents when she emerged from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, Alison-Madueke, who is also the first female President of Oil roducing Exporting Countries (OPEC), particularly faulted the observation of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) last week that the NNPC was yet to comply with the directive to remit the $1.48 billion identified by the Price Water House Copper (PWC) forensic audit into the Federation Account.
She said the corporation had indeed, started remittance.
Her words: “The PriceWaterHouseCopper (PWc) forensic audit that was done few weeks ago in its recommendation, mentioned that $1.48 billion was owed by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) for a block that had hitherto been assigned from the NNPC to NPDC which is its subsidiary.
They felt that the right process would be that NPDC will refund the money to the Federation Account. And NPDC has apparently started the refund and it is also in discussion with NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on same. So the refund has actually begun.”
On the allegation that she has been running from pillar to post, including seeking the assistance of former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar to save and protect herself from some of the actions she took, Alison-Madueke dismissed the report, noting that Abubakar himself had addressed the matter sufficiently.
She said: “I have not sought such any assistance because I am not aware that I have been indicted of any crime that I will require a soft landing. Over the last four years, I have been severally and unfortunately accused and labelled in so many malicious and vindictive ways. I have explained these things and pushed back robustly on these accusations and I have even gone to court on many of them. Yet they keep being regurgitated.
“So let me state it clearly for the records that Nigeria is my country, just like it is any person’s and I’m not going anywhere. I love my country and I do think that I have done the best for my country and I would also like to point out that these malicious, malevolent, vindictive libels coming out of places like Osun Defender and other faceless online and other entities need to stop.
“We have done enough for this industry. We cannot definitely please everybody. Yes, we have stepped on toes but we did that in the best interest of Nigeria and we have opened up the oil and gas industry to all Nigerians and thousands of Nigerians have benefitted from our reforms in the system.
“And I think it is unfortunate, particularly when we are moving into a transition period and looking forward to an incoming government, which is coming to take over where we have ended. For everything that has a beginning there is an end and that is not a surprise. What is the surprise is the sort of malevolence bothering on personal malicious libel to my person during this period of time. I do believe that I have done the best for Nigeria in this job and I have attained many firsts in the history of oil and gas especially in the reforms that we have done.
“During this period of time, I have stepped on many big toes particularly the feet of the cabal members in the industry when we came in. Because I have said severally that we will open up the industry to all Nigerians and we have but that is not to the pleasure of certain cabals.
“And I have been continuously maligned because of this and we have taken millions and in fact billions of dollars out of the hands of forming multinationals and their subcontractors and put them in the hands of Nigerians through Nigerian Content. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have come into the oil and gas industry because of our reforms.
“Quite frankly, I think as unprecedented as it is, it does not please everybody and that cannot be helped but let us remember the unprecedented reforms that have happened in the oil industry during our time, such as major gas reforms, the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been completely revised, reformed and put into the hands of members of the National Assembly where it has languished for two years.
“In that bill are all the reforms needed to make NNPC a National Oil Company, an equity share company through transparency, accountability and responsibility and reduce corruption in the industry. We did all these and we put them in place to reduce corruption so for me to be tagged with various tags of corruption, $10 million jet purchases, who buys jet for $10 million dollars for goodness sake? And $20 billion missing money for which Pricewater Copper (PWC) had done a report and the $1.48 billion which is not missing, which is actually money transferred by the NNPC to NPDC which is a subsidiary and NPDC has actually started making payments under my directive.”
Alison-Madueke said the NNPC under her was the first to admit openly that there are gaps, insisting that is only during her tenure that the corporation been this open, transparent and audited.
Commenting on the emergence of long fuel queues, she blamed it on the distributors insisting that there were enough petroleum products available for Nigerians. Alison-Madueke said: “This is very unfortunate and you know that product supply and distribution have been one of the high points of this administration when we came in. We have kept queues to the barest minimum. We have moved away from the challenges of the past and ensured through our various flexible product arrangement that we kept Nigeria wet with fuel supply.
“Unfortunately, you are coming into a transition, whenever certain things are happening, intruders will hijack the process and certain amount of hoarding taking place for various reasons. This is what we are experiencing and there is no reason for this because our reserves are enough to keep the country wet with products throughout this period.
“I will plead with marketers to make the fuel available. PMS is available, make it available to Nigerians. We have worked so hard to build the system and we don’t want it distracted in these latter days.”