By Stephen Ubanna
Mohammed Adoke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and former Attorney General and minister of Justice, was one of the most powerful ministers under former President Jonathan Administration. His words were law.
He was said to have rebelled against the former President in order to support incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. He had expected to be carried along by the Katsina state born Nigerian President but got it wrong. The Cabal in the Presidency could not give him room to come close to him, let alone having a private discussion with him. He was forced to go on self- exile in 2015 when the situation became very frustrating to escape the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrest over his alleged involvement on the, Oil Prospecting Licensce, OPL 245.
Investigation by the Value News shows that since then, the former Attorney General to then Jonathan’s government has never known peace, running from one country to the other to escape the EFCC, and INTERPOL arrest. Going by the thinking of the former minister he had expected that the Kastina born Nigerian President would save him from the harassment and intimidation of the anti-graft agency, over the Malabu Oil Well saga. He got it wrong. This is because he does not interfere with work of the agencies.
It was not surprising why he has made it clear to those that cares to listen that he can’’ afford to be reckless in this his second term in office as he is not going to ask anyone for votes because he has no plans to remain in power after 2023 election’’. He may sent signal to those who have been looking up to him to save them from the Ibrahim Magu , a Commissioner of Police, and acting EFCC, Chairman, harassment.
Security watchers informed The Value News, that Adoke, the former Attorney General of the Federation, may have been emboldened to leave undisclosed location in Europe to travel to the United Arab Emirate, UAE City of Dubai for medical treatment after a Court warrant for his arrest by EFCC and Interpol in 2017, was vacated in October.
The former Attorney General’s Lawyers were said to have expected Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General and minister of Justice to Buhari’s government to have updated the INTERPOL overseas of the development on the case but failed to do so. The fallout was that the former Attorney General , who was alleged to have flown into the UAE City was said to have fallen into the waiting hands of the Interpol ON nOember11, who were said to have been working closely with the anti-graft agency, to arrest him.
Given the EFCC harassment , the former Attorney General had published his memoirs : Burden of Service : ‘’Reminiscence of Nigeria’s former Attorney General’’, detailing his roles in the OPL 245 Malabu Oil Deal as well as other events that happened in the last Jonathan’s Administration .
Given an insight into Malabu oil bloc, he exonerated the Jonathan Administration over the allocation, noting that it was done by late General Sani Abacha, and who incidentally was a former Head of State in 1998.
He disclosed that it was not the only oil bloc that was said to have been allocated at that time. He explained that the allocatios was based on the policies of the then government which was basically to encourage indigenous participation in the upstream sector of the nation’s Oil and Gas sectors of the b economy. ‘’There was OPL 246, which was alllocated South Atlantic .
He noted that with the death of Abacha, the former Head of State, may have forced Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired Army General and his successor to revoke some of the Oil blocs but ,however, did not revoke OPL 245, OPL246, including the oil bloc allocated to Florunsho Alakija and some others.
He had said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo , had continued with the transactions until 2001 when he revoke the Oil blocs due to reasons best to him.
The Magazine learnt that after revoking the oil blocs, the then Obasanjo Administration called on Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and other Oil Majors to come and bid for the Oil blocs. SPDC was said to have bidded for OPL 245 at a signature bonus of $210 million as opposed to $20 million, discretionary allocations that was given to the selected indigenous Oil Companies to enable them to have a ‘’say in the nation’s oil and gas sector’’.
According to him, after the revocation of the Oil blocs by the government, Dan Etete, a former minister of Petroleum Resources , who has always been the face of Malabu Oil Well bloc was affected. He averred that as at the time Malabu Oil bloc was allocated to Etete, the former Petroleum minister by the late Abacha, ‘’nobody challenged the impropriety or otherwise of the former minister getting an oil bloc allocated to him’’.
It was gathered that when the matter came to the hearing of then Ghali Na’Abba, a former Speaker of House of Representatives, he had described the revocation of the OPL 245 as ‘’wrongful and illegal’’. The House was said to have ordered the then President Obasanjo to return the Malabu Oil bloc to Etete, the former minister of Petroleum Resourcesbut it was ignored.
Perhaps, the inability of the then Obasanjo Administration to implement the House decision on the Malabu Oil bloc may have forced Etete to drag the case the Court. Indeed, trouble may have started for Etete over the Malabu Oil bloc when SPDC and other Oil Majors tried to use their influence to get back the Oil bloc from the former Oil minister , as they claimed to have re-risked the oil bloc and invested over $550.
SPDC, may have made the case of Etete, regarded as the face of Malabu,worse, because it was said to have paid a signature of bonus of $1 million into the government coffers and paid an additional $209 million into the government escrow account pending the outcome of the Court case.
Bu the question being asked in both official and official circles was: who was the government official that gave SPDC, the nod to de-risk the OPL245 oil bloc?
Until his death, former President Musa Yar’Adua, was said to have tried to resolve the Malabu saga. He was said to have set up inter-ministerial Committee Headed by Michael Aondoaka, the Atorney General and minister of Justice, under his Administration. A resolution was said to have been reached where shell was asked to a certain amount of money to Malabu.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President was said to have died at the time the agreement was to be signed. The OPL 245 issue was said to have resurfaced again during former President Jonthan’s regime. Shell, which was said to have taken the case to Court had claimed $2 billion as cost of investment from the government. The Jonthan’s government may not have wanted the matter to drag on for too long as it quickly implemented an out of Court settlement on the Malabu oil bloc.
The British Oil Exploration Company may not have been satisfied with the government interention as it was said to used its dominant position in the international oil market to enter into a Caveat worldwide that nobody should deal with Malabu on OPL 245, because it has an interest.
In the midst of the confusion, ENI, an Italian oil Company were said to have approached the Jonathan Administration expressing their willingness to deal with Malabu and OPL 247. The Company was said to have expressed the fact that they were aware that Shell, has an interest but would want to go into partnership with it to acquire the Malabu oil bloc. The two oil firms were said to have worsen their case as they filed to realise that they were dealing with Malabu, which in a way, means dealing with Etete, the former minister of Petroleum Resources.
Recall that Shell and ENI were said to have come up with a resolution agreement which was said to have been turned down by the Jonathan government. The then Jonathan government was said to have made it clear to SPDC and ENI, the Italian oil firm, that it would not continue the transaction until an inter-ministerial Committee to renegotiate the resolution agreement was set up.
It was gathered a Committee from the ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC ,and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, ministry of Finance, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS and ministry of Justice were said to have sat down and negotiated the Resolution Agreement and came up with another resolution agreement that was acceptable to all the parties.
Adoke had told those that cares to listen that these was ‘’how the issue of the government trying to buy into the Malabu bloc was inserted in the agreement’’. The former minister stressed that even after they had negotiated the resolution agreement, they could not summon courage to sign the agreement until it was approved by former President Jonthan .
An aggrieved Adoke, queried: how did this amount to allocation of Malabu oil bloc?. But the EFCC would still put it to the former minister that he has a case to answer on the Malabu oil bloc deals.
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