Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has hinted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had begun remittance of $1.48billion (N294.5 billion) uncovered by a recent forensic audit to the government.
Alison-Madueke declared yesterday that she had no reason to seek for asylum or soft-landing ahead of the May 29 handover date to the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as being circulated by a section of the media.
The minister told journalists yesterday in Abuja that the cabal that held the oil sector in its grip for so long was behind all the negative stories being published about her.
She said: “The Price Water House Copper forensic audit that was done a few weeks ago in its recommendation mentioned that $1.48 billion was owed by Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, for a block which had hitherto been assigned from the NNPC to NPDC which is its subsidiary and they felt that the right process would be that NPDC will refund that money to the Federation Account. NPDC has apparently started those refunds and it is also in discussion with NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR on same. So, the refund has actually begun.”
On her recent meetings with former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Alison-Madueke said: “I believe that His Excellency has already answered that and called it unnecessary mischief and I will ask that the media do its research properly and deal with the facts. I have the privilege of meeting with many senior statesmen during the course of my job in the Federal Executive Council, FEC, and I was surprised that he should be singled out in any such form. The short answer is NO.
“I have not sought such assistance because I am not aware that I have been indicted of any crime that I will need 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. 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 takeover where we have ended,” she said.
The minister stated that she had stepped on many powerful toes in the industry in the implementation of far-reaching reforms which opened up the sector for many Nigerians to participate.
She continued: “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. In this period of time, I have stepped on many big toes particularly the feet of the cabals that where 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 the National Assembly.
“In that bill are all the reforms needed to tear NNPC apart, make it 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, $10million jet purchases; who buys jet for $10million dollars for goodness sake? And $20billion missing money for which PriceWater Copper (PWC) had done a report and the $1.48billion 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 directives.”
Alison-Madueke argued further that the NNPC under her was the first to admit openly that there were gaps, insisting that is only during her tenure that the corporation became this open, transparent and audited.
According to her, “I have said during our time that there are gaps in the NNPC and I said that openly. But I can also say that there is no time in Nigerian history in the oil and gas that the NNPC has been as open and audited as it is today.
“It has been positioned to go forward in the industry, it is true that the revenue profile is not sustainable. But we have done our best and the Nigerian oil and gas sector is today in a better shape than it has ever been in terms of achievements that we have recorded.
“So let me state it clearly for the records that Nigeria is my country and I am 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 these malicious, malevolence, 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 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, thousands of Nigerians have benefitted from our reforms in the system”.
On the emergence of 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 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 please make the fuel available. Premium Motor Spirit, 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,” she said.

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