Malabu : Adoke Many Troubles

 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.

Mohammed Adoke: Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice

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.

.Dan Etete:  Former Minister of Petroleum Resources And Face Of Malabu Oil Bloc

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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