Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is currently undergoing extensive cancer treatment in the United Kingdom, has strongly refuted claims that she awarded crude oil swaps valued at $24 billion without supporting contracts.
In a statement, supported by letters from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the former minister when she was in office, which was issued in Abuja through her spokesman, Mr. Clem Aguiyi, Alison-Madueke rejected reports attributed to the probe in the House of Representatives on the oil swaps claiming that she granted an “extension” instead of approval for the renewal of the contracts for the swaps.
She described the latest attack on her person as a fabricated tissue of lies deviously concocted to sustain the escalating evil narrative against her person.
Recalling the events and putting the facts in proper perspective, the former minister who spoke through Aguiyi insisted that what she gave were “approvals for renewal of contract for first, a one-year term each for Messrs Trafigura Beheer BV and Messrs Society Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR) in August 2010 and then for a two-year term in August 2011 for the same companies”.
The NNPC subsidiary, Duke Oil, was given approval for a one-year term in January 2011, while two other approvals were consequently sought by the group managing director of NNPC – the first of these on the 29th August 2014 was seeking to ratify all three aforementioned approvals which had apparently variously expired during the course of 2013, the statement said.
“In view of the criticality of the situation, the former minister immediately approved/ratified all three renewals. Expiration of those terms were put at 31st December 2014, following assurances to the former minister that the contractual obligations of the parties to NNPC had in fact been fully met, despite the regrettable lapse in renewal time,” it added.
Alison-Madueke, in the statement, revealed that the said lapses in expiration to renewal dates were seven months for Duke Oil, 10 months for SIR and 12 months for Trafigura.
“Secondly, on the 28th of October 2014, following the recommendation of the then GMD, NNPC, the minister approved OPAs for a new term of two years commencing from 1st January 2015.
“The entities recommended by NNPC were Sahara Energy Resources Ltd, Aiteo Energy and Duke Oil. NNPC strongly recommended and outlined the benefits of the OPAs over the SWAPs and put forward the case for migration from the OPAs and crude exchange (swap) contracts to OPAs fully.
“NNPC posited that the ‘experienced benefits of the OPAs to the federation’ would be much greater. All approvals were due process-driven and were only given by the former minister following formal statutory written requests, which contained the technical basis for the renewal and were sent to her by the GMD, NNPC, as is the normal practice.
“NNPC had clearly requested for the approval of the former minister for renewal of the crude oil for refined products exchange agreement and renewal of the offshore processing agreements on all the various occasions outlined earlier in this press release.
“Whereas, it was the former minister’s responsibility to either give or refuse approval, it was not within her purview as minister to draft, initiate or conclude the processes of signing the final contracts, as it is the statutory responsibility of NNPC to ensure that all technical areas are duly covered and all requisite due process parameters are duly implemented,” the statement noted.
According to her spokesman, “There would have been little need to respond to this particular issue at this time considering that the former minister is still indisposed and would have wished to be left alone to recuperate.
“She will speak for herself in due time. It is nevertheless imperative that records are set straight so that Nigerians and posterity will know the truth.
“Mr. (Austin) Oniwon (former GMD, NNPC) was right when he stated that the 445,000 barrels of crude oil for domestic refining is the property of NNPC, bought from the Federal Government of Nigeria at the prevailing rate and therefore as GMD, he did not need the Federal Executive Council’s or presidential approval to enter into swap arrangements that will enable NNPC fulfill its statutory obligations.
“It was also correct that contrary to the picture being painted in the media not more than 210,000 bpd out of the 445,000 bpd lifted by NNPC to ensure adequate supply and distribution of petroleum products was traded under the following swap arrangement: OPS – SIR – 60,000bpd; Swap – Trafigura – 60,000bpd; and swap – Duke Oil – 90,000bpd.
“What the GMD was required to execute of the above was the statutory approval from the minister for the companies! Refineries chosen by NNPC to participate in the swaps as outlined in Section 4 of the Petroleum Act and Section 20 of the NNPCAct.”
Continuing, Aguiyi said that it is incorrect to say that the former minister gave “approval for extensions” unless “extension” could legally be substituted for “renewal” because what Alison-Madueke gave (and the records are there) was approval for “renewal of contracts”.
“And these approvals were given based on the letters of request received from the GMD of NNPC,” he added.
Aguiyi also described as “extremely disturbing” reports that Trafigura and SIR had lifted crude worth $24 billion before their respective contracts were signed in 2014 and that those contracts were back-dated to look like they were signed in 2011 when their initial contracts first expired.
“If indeed that was the case, then the former minister could not have been party to it, as she was not involved in either the preparation or the signing of NNPC contracts.
“She reaffirmed that she most certainly signed the second set of requisite approvals requested by NNPC for renewal of the contracts of both Messrs Trafigura Beheer BV and Messrs Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage in August of 2011 for a two-year term.
“The former minister clearly fulfilled her statutory obligations by signing the request for approval for the renewals as and when presented to her.
“She noted that on the 29th August 2014, NNPC sought her approval for a new short contract ratification term that would expire on 31st December 2014.
“It became apparent that NNPC had failed to request for ministerial approval between late 2013 and August 2014 when the previous respective contracts had variously expired which meant that the various transactions had had no written contractual cover for the periods varying from seven to 12 months as follows:
• SIR: contract expired 3rd October 2013 and was renewed 29th August 2014 (10 months without written contract);
• Trafigura: contract expired 30th September 2013 and was renewed 29th August 2014. (12 months without written contract);
• Duke Oil: contract expired 30th January 2014 and was renewed 29th August 2014. (seven months without written contract).
“It must be noted that the corporation gave assurances to the former minister that it had assiduously upheld all its rights and performed its obligations as if a written contract existed during the periods mentioned, thereby ensuring the protection and safeguard of all national interest,” Alison-Madueke’s spokesman said.
He added that the former minister also took time to correct what she described as the erroneous impression being created by the media that she originated the OPAs and swaps.
“It is important to note that the crude oil swap arrangement predates the tenure of Mrs. Alison-Madueke as Minister of Petroleum Resources. All the Swap/ Offshore Processing arrangements currently in place and under her watch followed the same rigid template that was established by late Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman as Petroleum Resources Minister and approved by late President Musa Yar’Adua in 2009.
“The Yar’Adua administration had in 2009 signed a one-year term Offshore Processing Agreement with Nigermed Petroleum SA, a joint venture company between NNPC and British Petroleum International (BPI),” he disclosed.
According to her spokesman, “The OPA and Crude Oil for Product Swap were strategic arrangements/decisions reached by the NNPC and the federal government in 2009 in view of the down-time of the nation’s refineries.
“The arrangement was designed to help NNPC achieve an effective and robust petroleum products delivery option to the Nigerian public. Under this arrangement, it was the responsibility of NNPC to identify a crude oil trader and term contract holder who had affiliations with a refinery.
“The former minister’s role was limited to granting statutory approval to requests made by NNPC in this regard. The former minister never exceeded her powers nor did she take on the role of anyone else,” he added.
As Abuja-Kaduna Train Service Resumes, FG pledges Security of Lives
The federal government of Nigeria has said the Abuja-Kaduna is set for resumption after being suspended for almost two months.
Spokesperson of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Yakubu Mahmood said in a statement on Monday that the “decision to resume operations by the government does not mean efforts to secure the safe release of those abducted would be shelved.”
“The government wishes to assure the relatives of the abducted citizens still in captivity that the safe rescue of these passengers is a top priority and not to misconstrue the resumption of train services, like abandonment or nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight,” the statement reads.
“The federal government will never abdicate its responsibility in rescuing these valuable citizens, however, the government assures of its resolve not to succumb to threats by any faceless group.”
“The resolve to resume train services on the route was reached even as most of the kidnapped passengers are still held captive by abductors,” it added.
Relatives of the abducted passengers had warned the federal government against resuming operations along the route until their loved ones were rescued.
Earlier on Monday, reports have it that one of the kidnap victims of the train attack was freed by bandits on compassionate ground.
Eight passengers died in the attack, while over 60 people still remain with the kidnappers.
Lagos State Bans Okada in Six Local Councils, Nine LCDAs
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has banned the operations of motorcycles, otherwise known as Okada in six local councils and Nine LCDAs. This comes on the heels of the growing menace and nuisance constituted by the motorcyclists.
The directive was issued at a meeting in the State House in Alausa to the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders, and Divisional Police Officers on Wednesday.
The six local councils listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa.
Effective from June 1, 2022, the Governor directed security operatives to enforce the proscription order across the listed councils. According to the Governor, the ban is indefinite and total.
Recall that about a year ago, Investors King reported Lagos Government’s plan to execute a complete ban on okada, Keke, and introduce their own mini-buses. While the introduction of mini-buses might not be the major factor for this ban, the aim still remained the same – to reduce the lawlessness and crime rate across the state.
Sanwo-Olu said the Government took the decision in line with the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and menace created by the operations of Okada in the listed areas.
“After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Government and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total,” he said.
As a matter of fact, the Governor recommended residents who patronize Okada riders on highways to use the government’s alternative transportation initiatives to organize their journey. He stated that the government has rolled out Last Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses to commuters in the impacted districts.
After Six Years of Promise, Power Generation in Nigeria Hits Low Again
Despite promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari to provide Nigerians with 10,000 Megawatts of electricity in 2016, power generation still stands at 3,871MW.
Investors King gathered that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) failed to allocate 1,357MW of electricity from a paltry 3, 871MW generated on Sunday to power distribution companies (DisCos).
In a data report generated by Punch from the division of TCN, Nigerian Electricity System Operator, nine DisCos out of 11 were on Sunday allocated a total of 2, 514MW, leaving 1,357 unallocated.
A breakdown of the allocation for Sunday showed that Abuja DisCo received a total of 289.92MW; Benin DisCo, 226.89; Eko DisCo, 377.31MW; while 251.89MW was allocated to Enugu DisCo. Ibadan DisCos got an allocation of 348.73MW while Ikeja DisCo received the highest load of 478.15MW.
Jos DisCos got the lowest allocation of 138.66MW, Kaduna DisCos received 201.68MW, while Kano DisCos got 201.68MW.
In the last two years, Nigeria’s power generation has been on a record low of not up to 4000MW. The DisCos have most times, dragged TCN for weak transmission lines, low allocation, liquidity gap and others. The TCN, on the other hand, sometimes accuses the DisCos of load rejection.
Although the country’s national grid has a 13,014.14MW capacity, the GenCos generate a meagre 7,652.6MW, while TCN has capacity to wheel 8,100MW.
Experts say Nigeria needs at least 30, 000MW electricity for its over 200 million population to reach sufficiency. The national peak forecast is 19,798MW.
The highest generation ever achieved was 5801.6MW, and that was two years ago.
In a relative situation, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) has decried the incessant attacks on its facilities in the four states under its jurisdiction.
The company said it was bothered by the recent damage of electrical facilities belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria in Cross River State. The Head, Corporate Communications, PHED, John Anonyai, in a statement released in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, stated that the damage caused blackouts in some parts of Calabar, the state capital.
The statement read: “The management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc uses this medium to express her displeasure over the incessant vandalism of electric power facilities in its franchise, particularly the recent case responsible for the power outage in Cross Rivers State.
“This shameful act of vandalism that has rocked Calabar and its metropolis occurred about a month ago and has completely deprived deserving customers access to electricity services across the state.
“Historically, this is not the first time that heartless vandals are targeting such facilities without fear of being caught or electrocuted despite the heavy radiation of power transmitted from the towers.
“Painfully, for every act of vandalism which interrupts service delivery abruptly, PHED is always held liable with different sides to the story without facts as we currently experience in Calabar over this incident.”
According to Anonyai, residents of Calabar had been enjoying relative supply before the black-out as opposed to the current falsehood peddled by a sect of unknown faces whose plan was to trigger an unwarranted backlash against the company.
“It is pertinent to give a clue that the vandalized facilities at Oku Iboku belong to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“This, notwithstanding, as a responsible company that values the needs and comfort of her esteemed customers particularly in times like this, the company has been collaborating with TCN to restore supply.”
“It is no longer business as usual as the company will explore every single regulatory window to ensure collections and will only resort to disconnection where customers have clearly demonstrated recalcitrance by disregard to repeated demand and reminders to pay their bills,” PHED Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Henry Ajagbawa said in a statement.
“We therefore appeal to our esteemed customers to ensure they pay their bills as at when due while hands are on deck to ensure continuous supply of uninterrupted power to the people of Cross River State and other franchise areas,” he added.
With almost nine years of privatisation, the Federal Government said it had spent over N2tn on resolving decades of rot in the power.
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