More facts are beginning to emerge on the controversial $1 billion Malabu Oil deal which has smeared several eminent Nigerians.
The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, has said that former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan approved the controversial Operating Licence 245 between the Federal Government, Shell Nigeria and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, in a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja, disclosed that the oil block prospecting Licence known as OPL 245 was illegally and fraudulently acquired by Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
Besides, the anti-graft agency revealed how Adoke facilitated the payment of $1.2 billion bribe to Chief Dan Etete, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The revelations from the EFCC were contained in its counter-affidavit in opposition to the applications brought by Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, praying the court to vacate its order of forfeiture made against them in respect of OPL 245 prospecting Licence.
However, in a letter to the current AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Adoke disclosed the administrations of erstwhile presidents, Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan all gave their approvals for the transaction and operation of OPL 245.
Explaining further on the issues surrounding the dispute, the former AGF accused the EFCC of a deliberate attempt to turn Nigerians against him by painting him black and as a corrupt person.
He pointed out that Malami had the responsibility to explain to Nigerians the true state of things concerning the oil transaction that has become a subject of litigation, saying he never abused his office while he was the AGF.
Adoke in the letter said: “Having given you the benefit of the doubt, that you would not sponsor deliberate falsehood against me, my suspicion is that there is an orchestrated plot by the EFCC to: deliberately impugn a transaction that has been scrutinised and approved by at least three past Presidents and three Attorneys General; drag my name in the mud and paint me with the tar of corruption in order to attract public odium”.
“As the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, you have a public duty to speak on this matter so that Nigerians would know whether I acted mala fide or abused my office in the entire transaction leading to the final implementation of the settlement.
Nigerians need to know whether your predecessors in office from 2006 to May 2015 acted in the national interest when they brokered and implemented the settlement.”
“It will also be instructive for Nigerians to know whether your predecessors were carrying out their personal agenda or that their respective actions were carried out with the knowledge and approval of their respective principals”.
Adoke further alleged that the EFCC was acting in the interest of some powerful individuals who are “aggrieved by my refusal to accede to their requests to compel Malabu to pay them certain sums from the proceeds of its divestment in OPL 245, and the subsequent reallocation of the Block to Shell/ENI.”