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EMAIL ABOUT OIL SECTOR CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA SENT TO SHELL CEO MR BEN VAN BEURDEN

EMAIL ABOUT OIL SECTOR CORRUCTION IN NIGERIA SENT TO SHELL CEO MR BEN VAN BEURDEN, 25 JUNE 2021

-By Zik Gbemre  

WITH THE LEVEL OF CORRUPTION STILL PERVADING THE OIL SECTOR, NIGERIAN POLITICIANS HAVE STILL NOT LEARNT THE VANITY OF MATERIAL POSSESSION – THE NEED FOR THEM TO HAVE A RETHINK, AND FOR ANTI-GRAFT AGENCIES TO TAKE ACTION  

  • The mind-boggling allegation of high-profile corruption in the sale of 57 marginal fields involving the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura; Sarki Auwalu; Sabiu Yusuf (aka Tunde); Sarki Abba and others, should be thoroughly investigated by anti-graft agencies… 
  • It is sad how many people have made that piece of paper called money, to become their masters, and they the slaves of it… 
  • The sacred values like hard work, diligence, honesty and integrity that once held our society together, have all been replaced… Leaving our societies decaying daily without us even realizing it… 

For as long as I can remember, the subject of high-profile corruption amongst Nigeria’s political class, is one that has continued to get worse, despite all the so-called fight against corruption by the past and present Governments. And it is one problem that has continued to deprive the majority of the Nigerian populace from having access to the dividends of democracy, and has kept the nation perpetually underdeveloped, while those in the political space have continued to feed fat to the detriment of all.

Agreed that money is very important because it addresses a lot of things in the society that we live in today. In other words, money is not bad, but it is the LOVE OF IT that is the problem. Even the Holy Writ notes that: “For the Love of money is a root of ALL KINDS OF EVIL. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pieced themselves with MANY GRIEFS.” This explains the fact that every sort of evil we see all around our society today, can be traced to the unrestrained love of money.

These were my thoughts when I recently saw a mind-boggling allegation of high-profile corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons and principal officials within the nation’s oil and gas sector. The online post noted that: “Revelations have emerged on how the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura; the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Sarki Auwalu – shared almost $100million bribe money from the sales of the 57 marginal fields. Others allegedly involved in the rackets are President Buhari’s Personal Assistant, Sabiu Yusuf (popularly known as Tunde); a Senior Special Assistant, Domestic to the President, Sarki Abba and some officials of the subsidiaries of NNPC, one of which is said to be the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote.

“Sources familiar with the deal revealed that while some of the marginal fields were shared amongst Buhari’s aides, his cronies and that of the Minister of State of the Petroleum Resources, the larger part of it were sold to people who were willing and able to pay bribe money ranging from $750,000.00 to $1million and more. Wale Tinubu of Oando, allegedly paid $20million in bribe to win the bid for Egbolom, an onshore (Swamp) asset, located in the Central Niger Delta, which has the highest estimated Ultimate Recoverable (2P) Reserves of 85 million barrels, a volume that is over 30% higher than the second largest field, which is in the prolific south east shallow water in the Niger Delta.

“Also, Mr Leemon Ikpea of LEE Engineering allegedly paid $2.5million to be awarded a marginal field. Investigations, according to the report, revealed that one Idaere Ogan, popularly called Ambassador, is the front used by Sylva to collect bribes from the marginal field bidders.

According to the report: “Sylva used Mr. Idaere Ogan as his front to collect bribes of $750k-$1million per field. Mr. Idaere Ogan is popularly known as Ambassador, a nick name,” a source who does not want to be named but familiar with the deal explained. Sources in the oil industry also revealed that the process leading to the award of the 57 marginal field licenses is the worst in history, as it took no cognizance of professional competence and interests of the oil-bearing communities.”

While I urge that the anti-graft agencies should beam their search light on those mentioned to be involved in these weighty allegations of high-profile corruption, and have those found wanting promptly arrested and prosecuted without fear or favour. The only question that I need to ask is: what exactly are these people going to do with all of such ill-gotten wealth? The antigraft agencies should not allow these heavy allegations be swept under the carpet. These are persons that have been in high places of power and the oil and gas industry respectively for years. That means they must have built an empire of wealth and influence all these years, to be considered very wealthy. What more are they looking for? What more are they trying to acquire with such ill-gotten money, monies that can transform millions of Nigerian lives in the Niger Delta region and across the country? Do they think they will live forever? How many rooms and cars can they enter at the same time? How many chairs and beds can they sit and lie on at the same time?

I actually thought these players and government officials in the nation’s oil and gas sector would have learnt some lessons from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, whose corrupt-ridden life while in office, has now made her a complete fugitive. She can’t freely enter her country. But with what these stated government officials and players in the oil industry are still doing, it means no lesson was learnt from the Deziani experience. What a shame!

It is sad how many people have made that piece of paper called money, to become their masters, and they the slaves of it. And this is because of the paradigm shift of our minds on what we consider valuable in our society. Today, many are ready to do anything, including the unthinkable, just for money. We have become a people whose self-worth and self-esteem is tied to the amount of money in their pockets and bank accounts. As such, this has made many Nigerians to be heartless, wicked and without empathy for others. That is why corruption has remained at all-time high in the Nigerian society. This is also why we have become a people whose life’s worth and self-esteem is tied to those ephemeral things. If we were to strip some persons (especially elites and politicians) all of their ill-gotten money/wealth, Status symbols/Class/Titles/Awards, their self-worth and self-esteem will amount to zero.

Many wealthy Nigerians have developed the habit of buying and stocking cars that they really do not need or use. Such display of cars, often parked and sometimes covered with tarpaulins is just their way of telling visitors and anyone who cares to listen, that they have arrived.

It is this ‘mindless show of affluence’, or that “I have arrived” status symbol, especially amongst the political class and elites, that is the reason our politicians will keep on stealing and heaping up public funds/loots which even their great grandchildren will not easily finish. This is because they will have to ‘maintain such lavish lifestyle’, having arrived there. That is why today, we have become a people who value money (regardless of how it was made by the individuals concerned) more than anything else. As such, the sacred values like humility, hard work, diligence, honesty and integrity that once held our society together, have all been replaced with their opposites. Leaving our societies decaying daily without us even realizing it.

Zik Gbemre. 

June 25, 2021 

We Mobilize Others To Fight For Individual Causes As If Those Were Our Causes

Disclaimer: Any views, information, allegations or opinions expressed in the above are those of the author/originator of the article, Zik Gbemre. 

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