Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, has revealed how he got the letter which Lamido Sanusi, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), wrote to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on the alleged missing $20 billion.
Amaechi said when he got the letter from a “concerned Nigerian”, he contacted Sanusi to verify its authenticity; and although the ex-CBN governor “disagreed on the way forward”, he went ahead to share it with some governors and Senate President Bukola Saraki, who was investigating oil theft at the time.
Amaechi said all his actions were geared towards stopping the alleged looting of the nation’s resources, saying the revelations of “mind-boggling corruption” under the last administration have vindicated him.
“A concerned and patriotic Nigerian who felt sufficiently troubled with what was happening then, gave a copy of the Sanusi letter to Amaechi in Amaechi’s capacity as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). Like Amaechi, we should appreciate that concerned Nigerian’s patriotism,” read a statement issued on his behalf by his media office.
“When Amaechi got the letter, he spoke with Sanusi who was still the CBN governor to confirm the authenticity of the letter. Sanusi confirmed to Amaechi that he wrote the letter. During their conversation, Amaechi made it abundantly clear to the then CBN governor that the bleeding of the nation had to be stopped, all non-remitted funds remitted and that he (Amaechi) was going to use the letter to do whatever is in the best interest of the nation and Nigerians, which was the stoppage of the non-remittance and the recovery of all the non-remitted funds from oil sale. The CBN governor didn’t agree with Amaechi on the way forward.
“Considering that the letter was given to Amaechi as chairman of the governors’ forum, he shared the letter with his colleague governors first, and with Senator Bukola Saraki (now Senate President), who before and around that period was doing some work or/and investigation around the oil sector in the senate.”
The statement said an American delegation visited Amaechi in Port Harcourt and the issue of the letter came up while they were discussing oil theft.
“Around that period, a delegation from the United States of America government, from the offices of the secretaries of state and defense visited Amaechi in Port Harcourt to discuss the issue of oil theft in Nigeria. From their records, they gave Amaechi figures of billions of dollars (about $7 billion dollars, annually) that was being lost to oil theft in Nigeria. They were discussing the issue and figures of oil theft, and that was how the CBN governor’s letter to President Jonathan came up.
“In the presence of journalists covering the visit, Amaechi brought out Sanusi letter to the visiting American delegation to buttress the point that Nigeria was losing far more money to non-remittance of proceeds from oil sale into the federation account, which everyone seemed to concur, was in itself, another form and another dimension to the issue of oil theft.
“To suggest, infer or even extrapolate that Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi surreptitiously, clandestinely or underhandedly ‘leaked’ the CBN governor’s (Sanusi’s) letter is indeed most unfair, disrespectful and uncharitable to his person. Amaechi did what he did because he believed that the theft and corruption was just too much. He was propelled by his patriotic zeal to put Nigeria first, do what is in the best interest of the nation and Nigerians, and stop the bleeding and sucking of our collective resources by a tiny few.
“The mind-boggling corruption revelations in the recent past, that is still ongoing, clearly justifies and vindicates Amaechi’s stance on the issue and the actions he took. Faced with the same situation, under similar circumstances, Amaechi will not act differently.”