Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari dismissed all the members on the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has reiterated his call for the erstwhile Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to be probed.
Keyamo had, on June 17, written a letter to the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives asking the National Assembly to commence investigations into the activities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, especially with regard to the crude oil swap programme and offshore processing agreements of the company.
He alleged that some NNPC officials, in collaboration with some local companies, were looting the country’s resources.
In an interview with Sahara TV on Saturday, Keyamo said there was an array of issues necessitating investigations into Alison-Madueke’s management of the ministry.
He said, “It is about a whole lot of issues. In my petition, I was particular about what has come to be known as the crude oil swap deals. Under this arrangement, we never knew that a lot of our crude oil was given to private oil companies in exchange for their bringing in petroleum products. Under one arrangement, they were supposed to take it out. We signed (out) the products and then took them back to Nigeria whether they were petroleum products or by-products.
“Under the other arrangement, we were supposed to be given the crude oil to sell at the international market and then use the money to import petroleum products into the country. Now, there have been reports in the papers of late that under these arrangements, certain Nigerian oil and gas companies made very huge, unwarranted profits and the simple reason is that they imported far less than the crude oil that they bought.
“Under this arrangement, some of them bought private jets, property around the world and began to live large. Certain individuals in the NNPC were seen as collaborators in this deceitful and grand plot. Before the minister left office, she picked up her pen and wrote a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, inviting it to probe these individuals and these groups. And I asked myself some imple questions: It is a bit curious who had supervisory authority over these individuals and these issues.”
According to the legal practitioner, Alison-Madueke had access to all the relevant documents. He explained that she could have easily called for the offenders and given queries to them.
“Why did she wait till the last minute to write a petition to the EFCC to probe these deals? And I told myself: It is not a safe person who runs to a police station to complain that is always the victim of the crime,” Keyamo said.
Culled from PUNCH