Category Archives: Law

Alleged Certificate Forgery: Obaseki Starts Defence on Tuesday

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State will commence his defence on Tuesday before a Federal High Court in Abuja in the alleged certificate forgery case brought against him by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Edobor Williams (a member of the party).

It was alleged that Obaseki forged his first degree certificate; he claimed to have obtained from the University of Ibadan, which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of his educational qualification.

Other defendants in the suit are the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC.

Plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, Akin Olujinmi (SAN) announced the closure of his clients’ case at around 6pm on Monday after calling a total of six witnesses, following which Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned till 10 on Tuesday for the first defendant (Obaseki) to open his defence.

Among the witnesses called by the plaintiffs were two Associate Professors, who said they graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1978 and 1979.

At the commencement of proceedings on Monday, the defendants continued their cross-examination of the fourth plaintiffs’ witness, Raphael Onwuzuligbo, a retired Police officer and a Forensic Document Examiner.

Lawyers to Obaseki and the PDP – Ken Mozia (SAN) and Razak Isenalumhe took turn to cross-examine Onwuzuligbo, during which the witness told the court how he was engaged by an individual he chose to describe as a faithful steward to examine some documents relating to Obaseki’s certificate, which is being contested.

Judiciary, arms of govt must operate on absolute separation of powers – Activist Eholor

The Democracy Observer – General and President of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor has stated that unless the three Arms of Government operate on the basis of separation of powers, doom awaits the upcoming generations of Nigerians.

Eholor made his position known to Jungle Journalist Media Ltd, while discussing issues of governance in the country. He decried the increasing spate of impunity, which he said is a result of the abuse of the laws of separation of powers.

Hear him “It’s imperative to draw attention to the above subject which has been undermined by our leaders.

“The constitution of Nigeria allows for absolute separation of powers of the three(3) arms of government which include:
The Executive Arm,
The Legislative Arm and
The Judicial Arm.

“These arms of government were created to checkmate the excesses of each other to create a balance in the affairs of effective governance. For the purpose of the injustices consuming the country in all sectors, emphasis will be laid on the Judicial Arm of Government.

“The Judicial Arm of Government is very sacrosanct whereby laws created by the Legislative Arm of Government are interpreted for execution by the Executive Arm of Government. Over the years, the rot in the system has disabled the judiciary to perform optimally which is supposed to be the hope of the common man in the streets.

“There are many factors militating against the judiciary which some include; reports of cases where judges collected bribes to subvert justice, nepotism (where judges are not selected based on merit but by nepotism), poor infrastructure resulting in the delay of judgments, poor renumerations and partial autonomy of the judicial system. If this trend continues, the country will be doomed and the future of the generations to come will be in jeopardy.

“Every citizen of this country has a right to be protected by the law and deserves justice when infringed upon. If the Judiciary cannot live above board owing to some of the factors enumerated above, where else can justice be served? It’s worthy to note that in our Judicial system today, court judgements have been so conflicting on similar cases which has worsened her situation thereby creating double standard.

“This is very appalling because it reduces our democratic values as a nation.

“As a developing nation, we are must continue to sincerely emphasize on the absolute separation of powers for every arm to be autonomous and independent of the other.”

Human Rights Warrior, Eholor Reveals Plans To Sue Gov Obaseki Over Pry School Exams In Edo State

A Benin-based human rights activist, Chief Patrick Eholor, has threatened to sue Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

This followed reports that the compulsory 2020 Primary school Leaving Certificate Examinations in Edo State, had been cancelled for undisclosed reasons.

Eholor, the President of One Love Foundation made the allegation while addressing newsmen on Saturday in Benin City, the State capital where he called on the Governor to rescind the decision.

He explained that his decision to seek redress in court, is to discourage mediocrity in the education sector and for the sake of posterity.

He wondered why some perfidious individuals in the Government who duly earned their Leaving School Certificates on merit, failed to tell the Governor the consequences of promoting pupils who did not sit for the Examinations.

“My reasons are simple and clear. Godwin Obaseki is a good man who has passion for the citizens. He is a man that is very civilized and civil, but those he surrounded himself with are his messengers. Sadly, we can no longer trust their message.

“I am going to challenge it in court that nobody should be promoted without examinations.

“What I am saying is that we are going to go to court to challenge that. Our children must write their examinations before they are promoted. You cannot carry people forward without examinations, that is wrong. It will amount to setting a wrong precedent for the state.

“He (Obaseki) must reverse that decision and the children must do their Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations before they are promoted to the next level.

“First of all, if he (Obaseki) reply me within 24 hours, I will save his cost of spending tax-payers money in court. But, if he doesn’t respond, I will engage the best lawyer in town to take him to court.

“I have never lost one case. I represented myself 37 times in court, even in Canada. In all, I represented myself 35 times while my lawyer only represented me twice and I won all the cases”, he boasted.

According to him, “When governor Godwin Obaseki said in his own words that we are going to give a Leaving School Certificates to non-performance and to non-education, he said it was because of Covid-19 and that the State doesn’t have the resources.

“But, you cannot promote people without pass. We have suffered enough”, he lamented.

Recall that the Federal Government had shut down all private and public schools nationwide for about several months during Covid-19 lockdown.

Schools that were yet to sit for their third term promotion examinations, were promoted to the next classes in a bid to make up for the lost ground as a result of the compulsory holiday.

GOMBE CJ SAGA: Judiciary’s integrity under threat – CPA

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has been urged to rise and defend the integrity of the judiciary against obvious manipulation by some state governments, especially in the appointment of female judicial officers.

In a petition to the Chairman of the NJC and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, the Centre for Public Accountability (CPA), expressed shock at the “terrible drama” in the selection of a substantive Chief Judge for Gombe State.
Insisting that it had become “worrisome and a bad signal against the dispensation of justice in Nigeria”, CPA asked the CJN to step in and halt the anomaly, which is already destroying the integrity of the judiciary.

Mr. Olufemi Lawson, the Executive Director of CPA, , in the petition, lamented what his group described as “the unconstitutional decision of the Gombe State Government, to prevent Honourable Justice Beatrice Illiya, from assuming the position of the state’s Chief Judge, in a manner which clearly violates known conventions and our laws”.

CPA stated that “the continued refusal by the Gombe State Government to allow Hon. Justice Beatrice Illiya to be appointed the subtattibe CJ of the state is premised on the major reasons of her religion, gender and her Tangale-Waja ethnic background”.

The body insisted that “the action of the state Governor, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, is just one of his numerous attempts at desperately seeking to control the judiciary.

“This desperation has been taken further, with the appointment of Hon. Justice Mua’zu A. Pindiga as a replacement to Hon. Justice Illiya, in clear violation of Section 271(4) of the 1999 Constitution .

“For the purpose of clarity, Justice Pindiga is by far a junior judicial officer to Justice Beatrice Illiya and we sincerely believe his nomination deserves being thrown out, by your noble Council.

“We firmly believe as Nigerians, that the judiciary being the last hope of the common man, should not be manipulated by politicians, as the case of Gombe State judiciary is an attempt to impose a burden of credibility on the NJC.

“It is worrisome, that Justice Pindiga’s appointment as Acting Chief Judge of Gombe State has been renewed for the fourth time, despite his visible lackluster performance as a judicial officer, coupled with the several corruption allegations surrounding his office.

“It is also sad, that the Gombe State Government has continued to delay the 11th August, 2020, directive of your noble Council directing the Gombe State Judicial Service Commission to re-submit names of nominees for appointment as substantive Chief Judge of Gombe State, by doing the right thing of including the name of the most senior judge of the Gombe State High Court of Justice.

“While we strongly believe in the commitment of the NJC, towards protecting the sanctity of the judiciary and by extension, our democracy, we are disturbed by the worrying tendency of some state governments, to truncate the seniority hierarchy in the appointment of Chief Judges.

“The recent cases of Kebbi State involving Hon. Justice Elizabeth Karatu, and that of the Cross River State, where the governors arbitrarily prevented the appointment of Justice Akon Ikpeme, before the intervention of your great Council, are just a few that we wish to remind you.

“We believe that the NJC, will in the present situation stand firm to be seen as being fair to all and reject the impression, that it is leaving our women judges, to be vulnerable to political manipulations and machinations of these State Executives” CPA said.

Recall that the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA had in a petition earlier in the year, expressed worry that deep seated discriminations in appointment of judicial officers are more pronounced in the northern part of the county, advising the NJC not succumb to such anachronistic and discriminatory antics.

FIDA’s Country Vice-President, Barr. Rhoda Prevail Tyoden, and National Secretary, Barr. Evelyn Membere-Asimiea, had drawn the attention of the NJC and in particular the CJN, Justice Mohammed, to what they described as “serious infractions by the Gombe State Judicial Service Commission where a female Judge, Justice Beatrice Lazarus Iliya, is about to be denied elevation to the Chief Justice of the State, ostensibly because of her gender”.

FIDA had reminded the NJC that Hon. Justice Beatrice Lazarus Iliya who is the most senior judge in the Gombe State Judiciary was appointed acting Chief Judge, but instead of confirming her as the substantive Chief Judge upon the expiration of her acting appointment, two other junior judges were nominated and appointed in that capacity.

FIDA said “we strongly feel that this action is based on gender discrimination as Hon. Justice Beatrice Lazarus Iliya has proved to have professional competence through her performance as acting Chief Judge of Gombe”.

They insist that the conditions spelt out in Revised Rule 3(6) of the Procedural Rules of NJC required the consideration of the most senior judge for the position of a Chief Judge among other requirements, should be followed to its letters.

Open Letter from a Bayelsan to Governor Douye Diri

His Excellency Sen. Douye Diri
Executive Governor
Bayelsa State.

Your Excellency,


Your Excellency Sir, I bring you a warm greeting from my neuclar family and CLG NIG LIMITED.

Your Excellency will note on before his mantle of leadership as the Governor and enthusiasm of Bayelsans to elect a leader to pilot the affairs of this State due to the bad leadership inherited by Government after Government, thus making the State looking less than a State, moreso, keeping the Capital in an embarrassing state as the most undeveloped State Capital in the 36 States of the Federation.

Your Excellency Sir, case upon court cases have come and gone, which most recent is the yesterday’s judgment by the Supreme court. It is also technically observed that the cyber space is crowded with congratulatory messages by your fans mostly Bayelsans who may not have a down taught of the consequences and challenges ahead.

Your Excellency, I am on the side to tell you to be more worried and fearful to achieving, bringing developmental strategies that are not politically galvanized (vain promise as usual).

Your Excellency Sir, there is no doubt that your administration will witnessed the most developmental challenges seeing the debt services ahead this current Government.

My candid advise to your Excellency are:-
1) Your Excellency must as matter of urgency engage indigenous technocrats, who are in the private sector, to buy ideas that will lead to reboot the economy and job creation and of course increase the IGR of the State. (NOT politically galvanized)

2)Your Excellency must be ready to face the reality, knowing fully well that Bayelsa is underdeveloped. And also a mechanism be setup to look into those unacceptable wages, divide and rule policy, block those who are ready to finger into the stationary monthly a location coming into the State without fear or favour.

3) For this administration to actualize it’s dreams in an open and transparent manner, the ministry should allow registered indigenous contractors to bid jobs and execute them. Your Excellency, it very obvious that only Governors who are not transparent allow direct service job to be carried in other to carry out dubious act to siphon money meant for the general development of their States.

Your Excellency Sir, this should not be a time to rejoice and making big party but a time to look inward to the challenges that will befall your administration which are far tedious, corrosive and fearful that the Supreme court case, and the past administrations, which I will refer as the SUPER SUPREME CHALLENGES in your administration.

Thank you Sir. I wish you and your administration great success.

Comr. David Awasa
The common Bayelsan.

NBA splits into two as core North forms new faction

The Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) may have split into two.

A new faction with the name, New Nigerian Bar Association, (NNBA) emerged on Thursday. It is led by lawyers from the core North.

A press release made available to Irohinoodua indicated that the new association will be inaugurated soon.

The statement was signed by two Northern lawyers who are the Conveners, Nuhu Ibrahim and Abdulbasit Suleiman.

The new group said the formation of the new group was informed by the recent developments in the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) which was plunged into crisis following the disagreement on the invitation of Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El Rufai as a Guest at the NBA conference.

In its release termed Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), “peddling of sectional interests” the group noted that the recent rumblings from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is leaving much to be desired within the ranks of Concerned Lawyers especially from Northern part of the country.

The group stated “What has been happening recently has exposed the inability of the NBA to manage and contain the heterogeneity of it’s members as well as their various interests. It’s penal powers has been deployed discriminatively on the basis of ethnicity and regionalism.”

The convenvers said “As a body of Lawyers who have undergone training towards ensuring the promotion and protection of Human rights and liberties, the NBA is supposed to live above sentiments, regionalism and discrimination on any basis and of any kind. Therefore, the NBA cannot afford to be seen not to be upholding the rights and freedom of its own members if at all, it should be seen to be practicing what it preaches. As the Hausa saying goes: *Idan Kura tana maganin zaho, ta yi ma kanta*(If Hyena has cure for diarrhoea let her use it for herself).”

It noted that The New Nigerian Bar Association have been watching the activities of the NBA, an association “we all looked forward to joining with high hopes before being called to the Nigerian Bar, forcing idiosyncrasies of few on the majority of its members especially in recent times.
No wonder, NBA NEC, which is the highest decision-making organ of the Association failed to uphold the fundamental principles of fair hearing which in itself, is the fundamental aspect of Rule of Law, on the allegations against the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai as were contained in a petition by Chidi Odinkalu Esq a long time foe of His Excellency and a Lawyer of Eastern extraction, but the NBA failed to extend the same treatment to Southern invitees who were also petitioned and are also alleged to have committed similar or more human rights abuses than those alleged against Mallam El-Rufai.”

The NNBA stated “It is pertinent to state that the NBA membership as currently constituted can be termed ” Mandatory Membership Association which, for all intents and purposes, is against the provisions of the Constitution since the grundnorm recognises freedom of membership of every Association.

Section 40 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 provides as follows:

” Every person shall be entitled to assembly freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any Association for the protection of his interests. ”

The New Nigerian Bar Association members, the group said gleaning from the above Constitutional provision “feel that their interests are no longer taken into consideration in major decisions of the NBA hence the formation of this Association. A cursory chronicle of the membership composition of major organs of the NBA would reveal lopsided representation despite having large numbers of Lawyers from all parts of the Country and especially Northern Nigeria who have diligently paid their Bar practicing fees and have distinguished themselves in the legal profession.”

According to the group, the
New Nigerian Bar Association feels that, Lawyers, as professionals like Doctors and Accountants should have more than one Association regulated by the General Council of the Bar.

“The Legal Practitioners Act (LPA) which regulates the legal profession in Nigeria did not establish the NBA. In fact, the NBA was established as an Incorporated Trustee by Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). It is no longer gainsaying that a group of Lawyers can freely join any lawful Association for the protection of their rights and interests as Lawyers and citizens of Nigeria pursuant to the above cited Section 40 of the Constitution.

Even Section 1of the Legal Practitioners Act, which seemingly conscripted all Lawyers in Nigeria to Mandatory Membership of NBA is, for all intents and purposes, at loggerheads with Section 40 of the Constitution which makes the former null and void and of no effect whatsoever,” the group stated.

It argued that the Constitution remains the supreme Law of the land to which all other laws including the LPA are subject.
Section 1(3) of the Constitution states that:

“If any other Law is inconsistent with the provision of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other Law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.”

On the basis of the foregoing, the group argued, some Lawyers of like mind and duly called to the Nigerian Bar have decided to form New Nigerian Bar Association with the aim of protecting their interests as encapsulated under Section 40 of the Constitution”

The NNBA said members of the group have commenced consultations with very Senior Lawyers of Northern Nigeria extraction and those practising therein with the view to constituting the Trustees and for purposes of fixing date for formal inauguration of the Association.”

WAEC says it has arrested those who leaked question papers

The West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) has claimed that some of its supervisors leaked exam questions before the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) began.

This was revealed by WAEC’s Head of National Office, Patrik Areghan, on Wednesday.
Areghan stated this during a monitoring exercise to some schools in Yaba, Lagos State.

He confirmed that the culpable supervisors have since been arrested and warned students not to indulge in malpractice.

“Students should not go about looking for anything they call expo. It is shameful, supervisors collecting question papers from WAEC and going somewhere to open the questions.

“Yesterday we caught one in Nasarawa. They don’t know that we have a way of detecting them. In Bauchi, we caught another. We detected it from here. In Port Harcourt, a candidate did the same thing and was arrested,” Areghan said.

This year’s examinations began on Monday, August 17 and will end September 7.

Patrick Eholor leads Abuja Anti-Corruption Protest, as Group Demand Capital Punishment for Corruption

By Ebriku John Friday, Abuja

A group of Nigerian students and activists under the auspices of Joint Action Committee, JAC, Wednesday, embarked on peaceful protest at the popular NICON Junction, in Maitama District of Abuja to demand capital punishment for corrupt public officials including other issues.

The protest which was organised by One Love Foundation, initially was billed to hold at Unity Fountain, opposite Transcorp Hilton, but was stopped by security agents from using the venue.

Speaking on the reasons for their protest, the Founder, One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor, said Nigerians are indeed taking for a ride and the common patrimony that belongs to them are on daily basis carted away with impunity, and they can no more sit and watch.

He also lamented that worsening insecurity situation in the North East region, which has claimed over 37, 000 lives of innocent Nigerians, therefore called for the resignation and apology of Service Chiefs.

He said: “Our demands include capital punishment for who loot our common patrimony, and this is our first demand. In order to eliminate corruption is to introduce capital punishment because Buhari said if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us.

Founder of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor, speaking with journalists

“We are also saying that Nigerian institutions should reverse what they call admittance fee for the sake of the poor people. We are saying the Nigerian Police should be given adequate package to stop the aggression towards us, the Nigerian Customs Service should leave our streets and go to the borders, the Nigerian Immigration Service should stop giving citizenship to Lebanese, Indians and Chinese, and women should get more involved in politics.

“Service Chiefs have done us a disservice. We have lost over 37, 000 people in the North and the statistics are very correct. They should retire and apologise. So we must change the Service Chiefs because they have done us a disservice.

“We call on the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amechi, for putting Nigeria’s sovereignty in danger over his signing of agreements that we just know about.

“We warn that if there is no change we all will become unruly and outlawed.”

He further stated that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen God’swill Akpabio, mention all names of those who have milked the nation as far as the National Assembly probe on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is concerned ., which he aqlso alleged that the NDDC has not funded any project in Edo State, where he hails from.

“I approached my Member House of Representatives, who was allegedly mentioned by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen God’swill Akpabio as a contract beneficiary to show me where in the constituency he executed the projects, but he denied categorically, saying Akpabio must be day-dreaming. NDDC has not being funded in my area since 2018. Akpabio must mention to us those with him that milked Nigeria”, he added.

Speaking further, he (Eholor) called for peaceful and fair election in Edo State governorship election.

“My advice the governorship candidates of the two political parties, PDP and APC respectively is to ensure free and fair electoral process and think of the electorates, and who the cap fits should wear it, there is no loser or winner, who wins should be saluted and whoever lose should be embraced”, he said.

However, he said that, “I am not partisan because there have been accusations of god-father left and right. If we say former Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, and former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, was a god-father for instance, the son who is my friend and present Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, benefited from that god-fatherism.
Comrade Sunny Idika speaking during the protest

“So he who has not lived or sin let him cast the first stone. They all have one interest and don’t have interest of the people. We must stop that and people must be educated to go out there and register and truly vote. We must not sacrifice ourselves for these ‘bandits’.”

Meanwhile, other leaders of the protesters, including Nigerian Students and Youth Activist, Comrade Osemudiamen Ogbidi, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chapter, Comrade John Michael, and others said President Muhammadu Buhari, should not leave those people who siphoned Nigeria’s money, eaten what belongs to the Nigerian youth and citizens should surely pay heavily for it, and ensure that anybody caught siphoning Nigeria money should be sentenced to death.

“Whether it is any institution or individual to siphon the money that belong to the public by private individuals it is not in the interest of Nigerians to continue to fight corruption that has no effect on the well-being of fellow Nigerians.

“Every day in our lives we have people who are dying because of poverty what has caused it is not more than corruption. We are here as Nigerian students, activists, advocates and conscience that anyone found wanton of corruption should die by corruption. Corruption is now a ‘Nigerian’ living with us but we say no to corruption.

“The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, should provide the N80 billion spent within four months. The NDDC must tell us the N128 million they used to send drivers to driving schools. Where on earth is that done? Today everybody wants to travel to Dubai, but what did it take the people there to establish and develop their country? It was less than N1 billion. We hear billions of Naira budgeted for schools and others and yet our country is retrogressing. We say enough is enough!

“The reason why the Nigerian students have not resumed school is because of corruption. How long are we going to live like this in poverty, Diaspora, suffering, and if there is no change we are going to contain Nigeria”, they alleged.

Edo Indigenous Movement congratulate over Olumide Akpata NBA National Electoral Victory

An Edo Indigenous Movement known as Edo Progressive Indigenous Association (EPIA) has commended Olumide Akpata who emerged Presidential winner of the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) national elections, after defeating two other contestants who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs). This victorious win makes him the NBA’s first non-SAN President in years.

This commendation was made in Benin by the leader and President of EPIA, Chief Dr Bishop J.O. Enoyiogiere Edokpolo. He said the overwhelming solidarity that the Benin Branch of the NBA drummed up for Akpata could as well earn him the well deserved victory at the International Bar Association’s cadre.

“This result represents a sudden change in the order, as Akpata is now the first non-SAN to lead the Nigerian Bar Association in years. Feedback from members of the NBA indicates that there has been a long-standing hunger for a paradigm shift. And now it appears many of the association’s members have a good reason to be excited.

“Patriot Olumide Akpata-For us, members and trustees of the Edo Progressive Indigenous Association Worldwide, your eminently deserved victory at the NBA presidential election polls did not come to us as a surprise. ‘Owamagbomwan – oresetin’ is an esoteric Benin maxim, which espouse the unbreakable power of home support.

“In the spirit of ‘Evbuomwan aro ne amen ro yi’, we rise in altruistic felicitation, for your resounding victory, while wishing you a landmark tenure. We beseech you, to be humble in victory, and extend a sincere hand of fellowship to your co-aspirants.

“Additionally Mr. President-Elect, put on the toga of a statesman, and not that of a politician. While politicians think of the next election, statesmen think of the next generation.

“We are praud of our son and brother, a bonafide Edo Indigene to be the president of NBA. You have made us proud. Be assured of our prayers, now and always. Once again, congratulations. Kindly endeavour to make Edo nation proud of your tenure. Barrister akpata Ose- nobla re- kpaee Ise. Obagha to kpere ise “, Chief Edokpolo said.

Recall that Akpata won the election with a total of 9,891 votes of the total 18,256 ballots cast, while his closest rival, Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) polled 4,328 votes and Dele Adesina (SAN) polled 3,982 votes.

The election commenced at exactly 11 am on Wednesday, July 29, and ended at 11 pm on Thursday, July 30. It was a virtual voting process where registered members of the association logged into the National Officers Election webpage with their Supreme court numbers and cast their votes. About 29,636 eligible voters were registered, and the election committee sent the voting link to the registered members via emails and sms.

How NNPC Staff Sold 48 Million Barrels Of Stolen Crude Oil, Issued Death Threats To Whistleblower

Facts have emerged on how some Nigerian Government officials and senior Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations staff connived to sell 48 million barrels of Bonny Light crude oil stolen from the country during the first year of President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term in office in 2015.

The stolen crude was moved to China where it was stored in various ports and terminals including Sinochem tanks in Zhoushan bonded area and Vishal star tanks.

Potential buyers were from that point contacted for the stolen product by the Nigerian Government officials including a company that eventually blew the whistle on the monumental fraud.

Realising that the crude was stolen, SAMANO SA DE CV brought to the Nigerian Government’s attention the criminal activity involving the NNPC, according to documents seen by SaharaReporters.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, late Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari, and Mr Umar Mohammed were all promptly notified of the stolen crude in order to take appropriate action.

However, a letter written by the whistleblower to the President was prevented from getting to him by Mohammed.

In October 2015, the stolen crude was moved from China without the knowledge of President Buhari and sold illegally by some government and NNPC officials with the proceeds not remitted to the government’s coffers.

When the whistleblower pushed for its agreed five per cent cut of the sale of the crude for exposing the theft, its officials were harassed and issued death threats.

Several efforts for compensation by the whistleblower continues to be frustrated by government officials, who were part of the illegal deal and economic sabotage.

The whistleblower in a letter by its lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole of Lord and Temple, a United Kingdom-based law firm, dated July 23, 2020 to the NNPC GMD has demanded for the company’s compensation for helping to expose the criminal activity.

The whistleblower policy, an anti-corruption programme launched in 2016 by the Nigerian Government, encourages individuals to report cases of financial mismanagement or stolen funds in return for a share of the recovered item if the information provided turns out to be credible.

The letter reads, “Our client was approached by a group in the Peoples’ Republic of Chinas with the intent to sell 48 million barrels of Bonny Light Crude Oil believed to have been stolen from the Federal Republic of Nigeria and stored in various ports and terminals in China.

“It was revealed to our client that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations authorised certain companies to sell the stolen product.

“It was agreed that an investigation into the stolen products should be made to ascertain the veracity of the information and gather more facts as to the fraudulent activities. It was also agreed that if the information is found credible, the perpetrators of the offensive will be apprehended and that compensation due to our client for the information so brought forward will be awarded.

“In October 2015, our client got wind of the fact that the stolen products were being moved from their location in China by the Nigerian Government in calculated steps to recover the said products. Our client then caused a letter to be written to Mr Mele Kyari, through Mr. Marco Ramirez, offering to legally purchase the said products from the Nigerian Government if available for sale.

“Our client through its representative subsequently wrote to Mr Umar Mohammed clarifying its intention to the criminal activity in respect to the stolen products and not to make illegal purchases of the same.

“To date, our client has unfortunately not received any form of compensation for the information provided to the Nigerian Government in respect of the stolen products and or response to its offer to legally purchase the same when recovered.

“The upright act of reporting the criminal activity to appropriate quarters was not protected by the expected confidential nature of the policy, thereby exposing officials of our client to serious consequences including threat to life.”

The whistleblower’s lawyer further revealed that Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and former Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, were contacted to help get its compensation but nothing tangible surfaced.

The company has now threatened to take legal action against the NNPC if after 14 days from the date of the receipt of the letter the demand was not met.

Sahara Reporters