United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
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Ribadu drops the bombshell

Will Fayose go like Alamieyeseigha, Ladoja?

N-Delta oil cause of corruption — DON

PTDF: Senate Inaugurates probe panel, asks it to summon Obasanjo or Atiku if..

Obasanjo’s role as petroleum minister illegal –Reps

A report of the House of Representatives ad -hoc committee that probed the oil sector from 1999 to 2007 has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo held the position of Minister of Petroleum illegally.

It says his action breached Sections 138 and 147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and raised serious questions on due process of the oil bloc bid rounds conducted by his administration.

The report, therefore, recommended that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Police should investigate those whose activities led to fraud when the bids were conducted.

Government reportedly lost hundreds of millions of dollars in Signature Bonuses from oil bloc bids during the Obasanjo administration.

Part of the money, if recovered, will be used to fund the over N1tn deficit in the 2009 budget.

Investigations by our correspondents showed that the panel’s report was ready for submission to the House last Tuesday, but was shelved because of the budget presentation by President Umaru Yar’Adua.

The 25-member ad- hoc committee, chaired by Mr. Igo Aguma, blamed the irregularities largely on Obasanjo who, it said, illegally occupied the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The committee observed that by appointing himself a minister, the former President contributed largely to the shoddy bid rounds that characterised his tenure in office.

Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution states: “The President shall not, during his tenure of office, hold any other executive or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.”

Section 147 (2) states, “Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.”

Obasanjo never submitted himself to the Senate for screening as petroleum minister, let alone being confirmed in any form.

According to the committee, Obasanjo never directly interfaced with the bid processes, but related with his aides who might not have received his approval on all their actions.

It said that, without a constitutionally recognised minister in charge of the petroleum sector during Obasanjo years in office, the “legal due process of the bid rounds” was undermined.

Further, it cited Section II of the Petroleum Act to buttress its position.

However, two of Obasanjo aides who appeared before the committee said that they received all instructions from Obasanjo who was also the Minister of Petroleum.

The distortions in the bid rounds, the panel said, led to staggered payment of signature bonuses, some of which had been outstanding since 2001.

It said that in many cases, bid winners never paid the specified amount owing to “preferential treatment of winners at the conclusion of the bid rounds.”

The committee consequently demanded the full recovery of the revenues lost during the bids.

THE PUNCH had earlier reported that debts owed by the 16 oil firms (names withheld) involved in bid round rackets resulted in staggered and preferential treatments amounting to $1.148bn or about N134.34bn .

The committee’s Recommendation, 17 in particular, states, “The various acts of reprehensible conduct exhibited by the administrators (of) the Bid Rounds should be thoroughly investigated by the relevant agencies (the police, EFCC and ICPC, with a view to prosecuting those persons whose actions and conduct were induced by improper motives.”

The panel cited the case of a multinational firm, which won OPL 250 and paid only $75m signature bonus instead of $200m due to the distortion of the guidelines for the bid rounds.

It said, “The ad -hoc committee, therefore, recommends that signature bonuses must be paid in full at the time of the execution of the Production Sharing Contract.

“Even though this field (OPL 250) has been abandoned , the signature bonus balance of $125m should be recovered.”

The committee added that all outstanding signature bonuses should be recovered “subject to the express provisions of the PSCs, from the winners of the blocs who are in default of payment within a reasonable time but not exceeding 60 days from the date of this report.”

It said, “At the expiration of that time frame, the award should be revoked regardless of whether or not the blocs are either in development or production as non-payment of signature bonus is a breach of the fundamental condition for the award of the bloc. Such blocs should be returned to the basket.”

In addition, the panel directed that after recovering such funds, they should be audited to confirm whether they conformed with the true value, “identify and confirm any diverted payments; identify any acts of criminality and fraud in the process.”

The report identified the 2004 bid rounds and marginal field awards as one of the most-distorted. It said the officers charged with the duty of administering the bids and the minister of petroleum “who was in fact, the (then) President,” could not interface appropriately.

Stressing the anomaly of Obasanjo acting as a minister, it said, “The political buffers, namely the Presidential Adviser and the Special Adviser, Petroleum, interfaced between these officers and the minister.

“The officers did not have the opportunity of independent and or direct ministerial confirmation of actions that distorted the system.”

And Ribadu drops the bombshell

By Jide Ajani, Political Editor
Posted to the Web: Saturday, September 30, 2006

IT was James Kindleburger, an American economist who once wrote that nothing could be more depressing to an individual’s well-being than to see a friend making progress. He was quite right. However, what would the situation be were they to be the in same shoes? That is the spirit in the land today just after the release of the extensive work which had been carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which investigated petitions against 31 of the 36 state governors.It was a report which was long in coming.

Snippets of it had been published. Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State had tasted the bitter pills and the venom. Before Kalu’s tango with EFCC, led by Nuhu Ribadu, its Executive Chairman, the commission had been on the neck of Joshua Dariye, the Plateau State governor who took off from London and on whom a wanted charge hangs. For a commission that has been so maligned, harassed and embarrassed by a section of the Nigerian public, Ribadu’s mien for the about two hours he spent in the Senate chambers on Wednesday may have indeed won him more friends or foes.
For instance, against all expectations, most of the governors considered very close to President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has made the fight against corruption one of the poles on which one of the objectives of his administration is hoisted, were named as either indicted or being investigated. Prior to this period, there was the assumption that the EFCC could not, for whatever reasons(s), step on the toes of any of these governors.

But it was a very confident Ribadu who stood before members of the senate on Wednesday, reeling out names and exuding confidence, which some have even described as bordering on arrogance. But Ribadu so aroused members of the Senate that Tunde Ogbeha could not but request that the former furnish the National Assembly with areas where he thinks the Commission can be strengthened through legislation. That was the stuff which Ribadu generated with his presentation of the Commission’s report on state governors.

31 governors were investigated based on petitions. Ribadu told the gathering that the world’s biggest thief is a Nigerian. Of the 31 governors, six others are still being investigated, while there is no petition against the rest. One was cleared of allegations against him - Donald Duke. Those said to have cases to answer are: Orji Kalu (Abia), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Chris Ngige (former governor, Anambra), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Ibrahim Turaki (Jigawa), Mohammed Lawal (ex-governor, Kwara), Abubakar Audu (ex-governor, Kogi), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Abdullahi Adamu, Attahiru Bafarawa and Jolly Nyame.

But to be fair, this was  not the first time it would happen. Once Murtala Ramat Muhammed, a general at that time, took over as Head of State, the 12 state governors at that time, 1975, to be specific, were investigated. Only two, Oluwole Rotimi and Mobolaji Johnson, were cleared. The ten others at that time were found guilty of one offence or the other bordering on corruption. In fact, refunds were made, assets were forfeited to the state and they were dismissed from service because they were found to have used their offices to corruptly enrich themselves.

It was to take the government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida to return the assets to the dismissed officers. For Ribadu, during the more than two hours of testimony at the Senate, he claimed that the biggest fraudster ever in the world was a Nigerian. He also made it clear that the activities of the commission in three years were now giving the country a cleaner image. Giving a run down of the states, Ribadu said three generations of Governor Kalu’s family had been found to be involved in the looting of N35 billion of Abia government funds, which, according to him, were siphoned to establish multinational companies in aviation, pharmaceuticals, shipping and publishing. He listed the governor’s mother, the governor and his daughter, brothers and personal aides in the alleged illegal siphoning of the state’s resources.

He described Zamfara State as one of the worst cases facing the commission with the governor of the state, Ahmad Sani, fingered as being involved in direct stealing of state funds. He described the allegations against the governor and the counter efforts by Governor Sani as a tragedy. Ribadu said instead of showing contrition, the Zamfara governor resorted to blackmail as he quoted him as reporting to the British Parliament that he (Sani) was being pursued by the EFCC because he was set to be the next president.

All the implicated governors with the exception of Governor Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State were alleged to have perpetrated the offences through the siphoning of their local government accounts. Governor Tinubu’s case, the EFCC boss said, was, however, of an international dimension. He said the EFCC had refused to dabble into the case of the Lagos governor. But what did Ribadu go to the Senate for?

The appearance of the EFCC boss was upon the Senate summon to acquaint the Senate with the extent of its investigations into allegations of corruption made against Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State and officials of his administration and other states where the commission was presently working. Welcoming him to the Senate session, Thursday, the President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani said the EFCC was instituted to fight corruption in the country and reminded him that the enabling Act required the Agency to periodically submit its report to the National Assembly every September.

Will Fayose go like Alamieyeseigha, Ladoja?

By Bolade Omonijo

Posted to the Web: Saturday, September 30, 2006

If Governor Fayose is impeached, he would be the third in this Republic. The first governor to have a bisssstter taste of the provisions of Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution was the governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who was impeached last December. His removal was facilitated in similar manner by the EFCC for not only allegedly corruptly enriching himself with state funds, but jumping bail in the United kingdom.

On January 12, Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo state was impeached after his prolonged battle with the renowned political godfather in the state, Chief Lamidi Adedibu. He was succeeded by his deputy, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala. While the EFCC was not involved in that move, the same cannot be said of federal interest and the roles played by the police. The former Oyo State governor is still challenging his removal in court.

All the previous removals followed the same pattern. The Bayelsa lawmakers were similarly invited to Lagos, later held in ‘protective custody’ in Port Harcourt after their release from Lagos detention. It was from the Garden City that they finally moved to Yenagoa to effect the change.

But as soon as Alamieyeseigha was booted out, charges against some state lawmakers were dropped. That was also after the Speaker and the other pro-Alamieyeseigha lawmakers had been dethroned.

In Oyo state, the initial 14 legislators who were sympathetic to Governor Ladoja, including Hon. Adeolu Adeleke, the Speaker had since been edged out. The deed was done with the suspension of six of the 32 legislators to ensure that the 18 other lawmakers constituted two-thirds of membership of the House.

However, simultaneous impeachment of Governor and Deputy is unprecedented. Since Alhaji Balarabe Musa was impeached in the Second Republic, governors had always been succeeded by their deputies. In case a governor and his deputy are removed, the Constitution provides that they be replaced temporarily by the Speaker of the House. In Ekiti State, Hon. Friday Aderemi who is the Speaker had earlier been charged along with all the other members with receiving gratification from the state executive in a bid to get his erstwhile deputy impeached.

N-Delta oil cause of corruption — DON

By Emmanuel Ulayi
Posted to the Web: Friday, September 29, 2006

Abuja—A university  lecturer and environment activist, has linked the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta to the large scale corruption among the nation's political office holders, recently uncovered by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC).
Drawing the correlation during a presentation at a World Forum on the Environment, organised by the Environmental Rights Action, (ERA) and Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (FOE), Dr. Festus Iyayi, Business Adiminstration lecturer at the Universty of Benin, who spoke on the Political Economy of Oil and Gas Exploitation in Nigeria, lamented that political office holders especially at the presidency and the governorship levels are usually manipulated by the foreign powers who control the global oil economy.

These office holders he averred usually indulge in large scale financial embezzlement with the connivance of the super powers. Iyayi who alleged that the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative,(NEITI) was set up primarily to protect the interest of America and Europe in order to guarantee their constant supply of oil noted that the militancy experience in the Niger Delta was the outcome of neglect and official corruption.

His words, "To look at oil and gas activities in Nigeria, we need to situate them in relations to the global oil economy. The key characteristics of the capitalist world economy and politics are to be found. Nigeria gained political independence with the requisite economic independence.

This was the reason for our problem today. Being in charge of state apparatus enabled the politicians to control the resources of the country and major revenue was provided by oil and gas exploration. So those in charge of state apparatus then turned to exploration of oil then resulting in the huge corruption in leadership, which gave rise to the abject poverty prevalent in the Niger Delta region and the attendant restiveness of the indigenes".

Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey in his welcome address identified oil and gas as the major cause of global conflicts among nations, calling on the world powers to address the issues amicably rather than fueling the conflicts.
He lamented the inability of Nigeria to provide constant and uninterrupted supply of electric power despite the nation?s rating as a major oil producing state noting that the government must address the issue for any meaningful development to take place.

PTDF: Senate 'll cleanse Presidency —NNAMANI * Inaugurates probe panel, asks it to summon Obasanjo or Atiku if...

By Emma Aziken, Ayodele Adegbuyi, Tordue Salem & Habib Yacoob
Posted to the Web: Thursday, October 05, 2006

ABUJA—SENATE President, Chief Ken Nnamani, declared, yesterday, that the Senate would cleanse the Presidency of the stench of scandal, mischief and mistrust which, according to him, is threatening to diminish the institution and destroy the nation’s democracy.

Chief Nnamani who spoke while inaugurating the Senate ad-hoc committee to probe the activities of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) said the accusations and counter accusations between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar constituted a moral credibility problem that must be tackled.

The House of Representatives, on its part, vowed to resist any undue influence by the Presidency in its consideration of the EFCC report on the PTDF accounts.
Chief Nnamani charged the Senate ad-hoc committee to leave no stone unturned including summoning on the President and the Vice-President in the effort to unmask the truth.

The inauguration of the 13-member ad-hoc committee was witnessed by a record number of 31 Senators and was interjected by one moment of humour.

After giving the panel members the go ahead to invite the President or the Vice-President, Chief Nnamani, aside, told the panel members: “You are on your own.”

Chairman of the probe panel, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) had earlier spoken of the committee’s determination to concern itself only with facts and not to be moved by inclinations or tendencies in the course of the committee’s assignment.

Underpinning the Senate’s resolve to ensure transparency in the operations of the committee, Senator David Brigidi, chairman of the Senate Committee on Down Stream Petroleum was dropped from the probe panel on account of the committee’s recent oversight activities at the PTDF.

In his speech entitled: “Truth, justice and fairness will save our democracy,” Chief Nnamani said: “It is no longer a secret that our democracy is threatened by a moral credibility problem. Democratic governance is a trust, which binds the citizens and their leaders in an unbroken chain of mutuality and dependence. The citizens expect candour and good faith from the leaders. The leaders on their part express their obligation to serve the people’s interests at all times. When this social compact is broken or stressed, the foundations of the legitimacy of the state tremble. At such period, the society needs to undergo a restoration of balance. Truth is what restores the balance of societal harmony.

“I inaugurate with a sense of history this special committee of the Senate set up to comprehensively investigate the activities of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in the light of the accusation of gross misconduct levelled at the Vice President and his rebuttal and cross-accusation against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These accusations have the capacity to diminish the moral credibility of the Presidency. The Presidency is not an individual. It is an institution. It is an institution that symbolises the strength and dignity of Nigerian people. We cannot allow this institution to be degraded and demystified.

“In constituting this special committee, the Senate acted in the best traditions of statesmanship. We carry the burden of history to ensure that we reposition the Presidency in the eyes of Nigerians. We carry a burden to get to the root of the allegation of misconduct and corruption in order to clear the debris and allow the light of truth shine from the hallowed chamber of Presidential power.

“Today, I am constrained to remind my colleagues that every Nigerian household, in fact, the citizens of the country now look upon this Senate to rise to the challenges of statesmanship and conduct a thorough, fair and just investigation of the activities of PTDF and determine who did what and why.

“Every Nigerian citizen trusts that we, the elected representatives of the people, will shun any possible pecuniary considerations and any other self-serving inducements and dig deep for the truth. Every Nigerian places faith in this committee to separate truth from falsehood and the innocent from the guilty.

“I need not remind members of the committee of its grave responsibility and the determination of the Senate to execute its constitutional responsibility with dignity, justice and equity. We have set a high mark of discipline and patriotism in similar situations of constitutional crisis. The Nigeria people now expect honour, dignity, truth and courage from us. We cannot fail the people at this critical moment. We cannot fail Nigeria at this period of despair.

“I charge the committee to exercise the full complement of legislative power in conducting the investigation. It should not hesitate to invite any person whose testimony is required. It should examine every document that could guide it to the truth. It should not close its eyes to uncomfortable and inconvenient truths."

Reps vow to shun interference

And at a press conference in Abuja, the House of Representatives through its chief spokesperson, Mrs. Abike Dabiri, vowed that the House would not shirk its responsibilities in considering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) report on the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) accounts.

“The House would take up the issue of PTDF. The Senate has already taken up the matter, and it is looking into it. And you know the Senate cannot decide on the report without the concurrence of the House of Representatives,” she said.