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Faces Behind Deal That Landed Nigeria In $9.6bn Mess

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Faces Behind Deal That Landed Nigeria In $9.6bn Mess

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to launch a probe into the contract between the Federal Government and the Process and Industrial Developments Limited, signed in 2010.

The controversial contract has become the subject of a $9.6bn judgment debt imposed on Nigeria by a British court last week.

The president also directed that the contract itself should be probed with a view to identifying Nigerians involved in the signing of the deal in 2010 for possible prosecution.

The President’s decision to probe the firm and its activities was based on the fact that the Federal Government suspected foul play in the contract which was negotiated and signed under the past administration in 2010. But who are the past and present Federal Government’s officials that represented Nigeria to sign the purported contract 2010 between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the P&ID?

Umar Yar’Adua

The late President Umar Yar’Adua was technically at the helm of affairs when the project must have been tabled before the Federal Government. However, he was on a sick bed in faraway Saudi Arabia on January 11, 2010 when the contract was signed.

Unfortunately, the soft-spoken President is no longer alive to say what he must have known about the contract that has the capacity to lead the country to steady haemorrhage.

Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan was Vice President at the time the contract was signed.

Although he was the most senior government official in the absence of his boss, he was treated as a ‘leper’ and an outsider by the ‘cabal’ that took charge of government business in the absence of Yar’Adua.

However, on the doctrine of necessity subscribed to by the National Assembly, Jonathan became the acting President on February 10, 2010 and went on to be sworn in as President on May 6, 2010 upon the demise of Yar’Adua.

Our correspondent learnt that questions were asked on the contract when Jonathan became president but they were not answered. Thus, the fire kept smouldering.

Before Jonathan quit office on May 29, 2015, P&ID and the Federal Government had agreed at a settlement fee of $850m but he decided to hand over the liability to the incoming government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Attorney General, Michael Aondoakaa

Michael Aondoakaa was appointed the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation on July 26, 2007. He was reputed to be one of the members of the ‘cabal’ that ruled Nigeria in the absence of Yar’Adua.

It was not yet clear what role he played in the P&ID contract saga. However, as the chief law officer of the country, he was expected to review major contracts before the country could sign such document.

He lost his seat in the cabinet on February 10, 2010 – the day that Jonathan assumed power as the acting President.

Rilwan Lukman

Rilwan Lukman, an engineer, was a recurring decimal in the nation’s oil and gas industry. He was appointed Honorary Advisor to Umar Yar’Adua on energy and strategic matters in August 2007 and in December 2008, he was appointed the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

So, he was the Minister of Petroleum Resources at the time the ministry signed the contract with P&ID. However, he left the cabinet on March 17, 2010 when Jonathan dissolved the Federal Executive Council. He died on July 21, 2014.

Liyel Imoke and Cross River State

Liyel Imoke was the governor of Cross River State between May 2007 and May 2015. Although the GSPA contract was a federal project, his administration might have played some outsider role in the project. As of the press time, it was not certain what role the state government under him played.

Mansur Mukhtar

Dr Mansur Mukhtar, economist and experienced technocrat in both the public private sector, was Minister of Finance at the time the deal with the Process and Industrial Development Limited was signed.

The former Director General of Debt Management Office was appointed the Finance minister by the late President Umar Yar’Adua on December 17, 2008.

As the Chief Finance Officer of the country, a major financial transaction should not scale through without passing through his table.

The Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated through which the government must have acquired 10 per cent equity in P&ID is also under the purview of the Ministry of Finance.

Mukhtar left the government in March 2010 when Jonathan dissolved the cabinet.

Lamido Sanusi

Lamido Sanusi was the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the time the Federal Government entered into the contract with P&ID on January 11, 2010.

It could not be determined what role he must have played when the contract was signed. However, it is usual for the chief banker of the nation to be aware of contracts that will commit the nation to foreign exchange transactions.

Sanusi, who became Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano, was appointed governor of CBN on June 3, 2009. He was suspended from the apex bank by President Jonathan on February 20, 2014 in controversial circumstances.

Buhari and AGF Abubakar Malami’s role

President Buhari inherited the controversial contract when he assumed office on May 29, 2015. The controversy that surrounds it could have been settled by him with good negotiation.

However, he must have been too busy with preliminaries of taking over power to be bothered about settling a project that was not executed with $850m.

The President also failed to appoint a minister to take charge of legal affairs until November 2015.

An official of the Ministry of Justice had told a London court that the handover to a new government was responsible for the delay in implementing decisions reached with the P&ID.

Malami is the current Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation. He has been in charge of the contract suit since he assumed office.

Although he assumed office when the arbitration had awarded the $9.6bn judgment to the P&ID, the company accuses him of ignoring an offer of $850m to settle the case out of arbitration.

Malami has promised that everyone that led the country to the alley would be punished.

Punch

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FG Takes Delivery Of Final Batch Of Tucano Jets

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The federal government said it has taken delivery of the final batch of the 12 A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets expected from the United States.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this when he featured on a phone-in television programme “This Morning,’’ monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“All the 12 Super Tucano fighter jets have been received. As at this morning(yesterday), all the 12 were here and they have been deployed to the North-East.

“We can see that the Tucano jets are actually game changer.

“Most of the successes we have recorded in recent time is because of the acquisition of the new platforms, not limited to the super Tucano,’’ he said.

The minister said with the recent notable successes recorded by the military on insecurity, he was amused by a story on Monday that the Nigerian Air Force paid N20 million to bribe bandits so that they would not bring down the president’s aircraft.

“Fortunately, the Air Force immediately debunked this because this exposes their ignorance.

“Between Zamfara, Katsina, parts of Kaduna and Niger states, there are about 150 bandit camps. Who then was the money given to?

“It does not make any sense and it is because they do not understand how bandits operate that is why they can peddle that kind of fake news,’’ he said.

Mohammed said with the improved security situation in the North-east and North-Central Zones the nation would experience improved food security.

“If you observe what is happening of recent, you can see heightened activities in the agricultural area.

“This is because of the superior fire power of the military which is now making it possible for people to go to their farms, especially in the North East.

“They have been able to put the criminals at bay,’’ he said.

The minister gave an assurance that the success of the military against terrorists and bandits would be sustained.

He therefore, solicited the cooperation and support of Nigerians for the sustenance of the military action.

The Nigerian Air Force on July 22 took delivery of the first batch of six of the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States.

The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who made the announcement, said the aircraft arrived in Kano.

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#EndSARS: Lagos Official To Youths: Protect Public Assets Against Vandalism

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Mr Olufunsho Elulade, General Manager, Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL), on Tuesday appealed to youths to protect public infrastructure in their locality against any act of vandalism.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Elulade said that public infrastructure were provided with taxpayers’ money, “so destroying them amount to hurting ourselves”.

Elulade was speaking against the backdrop of the damage done to LSMTL offices in Ojodu during the 2020 #EndSARS protests.

He said that the damage was minimal because some members of the public stopped hoodlums who hijacked the protest from wrecking further havoc on the facility and its operational vehicles.

He said operational vehicles of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation which shared the same compound with LSMTL were razed.

Elulade, a chartered highways and transportation expert who was part of the team that designed the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Lagos, lamented the wanton destruction of the buses and other critical infrastructure.

He said the buses, buildings and other vandalised assets had direct benefits to youths and all other residents of Lagos.

“The youths should know that these BRT buses were bought to ease their movement from point ‘A’ to ‘B’, why would they destroy facilities that bring them comfort?”
Read Also: Anxiety over planned #EndSARS anniversary protests

Elulade urged Lagos residents to make infrastructure protection a collective responsibility.

He said that Lagos population kept growing daily, thus increasing pressure on government to keep improving and upgrading existing infrastructure.

According to him, destruction of assets amounts to slowing down progress for all residents.

He urged the EndSARS campaigners to tread with caution as their demand had been met by Federal Government’s disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in 2020.

The general manager also called for continued education and public sensitisation on the need for collaboration towards building a vibrant state and nation to transform Lagos into a 21st century economy.

NAN reports that the October 2020 #EndSARS protest against police brutality was hijacked leaving horrifying trails in Lagos and some parts of the country. (NAN)

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Nigeria Will Overcome Challenges, Says Obasanjo

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Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has charged Nigerians not to lose hope in the survival of the country.

Obasanjo said Nigeria, against all odds, will overcome the myriad of challenges it is presently facing.

He said if our forefathers were faced with similar challenges in their time and were able to get over them, then we will also overcome them.

The elder statesman spoke during a courtesy visit paid to him by the Coordinator of Christ Apostolic Church Prayer Camp, Ikeji Arakeji, Prophet Sam Olu Alo, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The cleric paid the courtesy visit to the former President after the morning session of a power-packed programme held at the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Isale Ake, Abeokuta with the theme: “The God of Our Fathers”.

Chief Obasanjo who posited that the theme of the programme was timely, commended the forefathers of faith.

According to him, the great faith in God as exhibited by our forefathers is all that is needed to weather the storm.

Quoting various bible passages including John 16 verse 32 to back up his words, Obasanjo said, “Even our forefathers had their own problems and challenges but they overcame the challenges.

‘We also have our own challenges but I believe that what we are passing through in Nigeria presently, we will overcome in Jesus’ precious name”.

Responding, Prophet Olu Alo appreciated Chief Obasanjo for his great efforts at building our great country Nigeria.

He prayed to God to grant good health and long life to the former leader for him to continually offer advice that will help in the development of the country.

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