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‘Eni knew bribes would be paid’, ‘Adoke confronted officials over kickbacks’ — OPL 245 trial continues in Italy

Trial continued in an Italian court on Wednesday over the controversial $1.3 billion OPL 245 deal between Shell, Eni-Agip and Malabu in 2011, with a star witness alleging that Eni-Agip officials knew that bribes would paid to Nigerian politicians. Vincenzo Armanna, former Eni manager and defendant in the corruption trial, also informed the court that Mohammed Bello Adoke, former Nigerian attorney-general, told Eni officials that they were at the risk of being arrested because they were negotiating kickbacks. The defendant said there were suspicions and unease over the involvement of Emeka Obi in the negotiations. Obi has since been jailed for corruption in the OPL 245 affair. Armanna is accused of having benefited from alleged kickbacks from the deal, although he said the $1.2 million he collected from Bayo Ojo, the former Nigerian attorney-general, was an “inheritance”. Ojo was the attorney-general when the federal government reached an out-of-court settlement with Malabu in 2006 and agreed to return the oil block to the Nigerian company. Meanwhile, Fabio De Pasquale, the Italian prosecutor, also told the court in Milan on Wednesday that Eni tried to “tamper” with Armanna to withdraw some statements he made during investigations. THE OPL 245 SAGA In 1998, the federal military government awarded OPL 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, which was said to be owned mainly by Mohammed Abacha, son of the Sani Abacha, and Dan Etete, who was the petroleum minister at the time. In 2001, President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked Malabu’s licence and assigned the oil block to Shell — without a public bid. Malabu went to court, and ownership was reverted to it in 2006 after it reached an out-of-court settlement with the federal government. Shell fought back and commenced arbitration against Nigeria, but when President Goodluck Jonathan came to power in 2010, the controversy appeared to have been resolved with Shell and Eni agreeing to buy the oil block from Malabu for $1.1 billion. The oil companies also paid $210 million as signature bonus to the federal government of Nigeria. Both payments were made to the federal government account at JP Morgan, London, from where Malabu’s share was transferred to Nigerian bank accounts of Abubakar Aliyu, owner of AA Oil Ltd. However, investigators are trying to establish that the bulk of the payment to Malabu was distributed as kickbacks and that the IOCs were in the know of the alleged sleaze — a charge they denied. WEDNESDAY’S PROCEEDINGS Barnaby Pace, a campaigner with London-based Global Witness which has been working on the OPL 245 deal for a decade, tweeted Armanna’s testimony in court. Here are the highlights of his tweets
Follow this link to read complete THREAD ON TWITTER

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Adoke: How I was framed up with fake tape over OPL 245

 

Says he saved Nigeria $2bn fine in the Malabu deal


Declares EFCC’s case against him as trumped-up


Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, who served as Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice from 2010 to 2015, has accused “political hirelings” of stage-managing a telephone conversation supposedly between him and an Italian journalist in which he was purported to have admitted knowing that the $1.3 billion OPL 245 deal was a “presidential scam”.
In his memoirs, “Burden of Service: The Reminiscences of Nigeria’s Former Attorney-General”, to be released in the coming weeks, Adoke also said he advised former President Goodluck Jonathan to resolve the OPL 245 dispute to prevent Shell from getting a colossal arbitration award of $2 billion against Nigeria over the revocation of the oil block in 2001 by the Obasanjo Administration.
Meanwhile, Ednan Tofik ogly Agaev, former Russian ambassador who is also being tried over the OPL 245 affair, said in an Italian court last month that he was pressured, under interrogation by the FBI, to mention Adoke’s name as one of the recipients of the $400 million bribes allegedly paid to government officials in the deal. Agaev refused to adopt the FBI interview in court, insisting that he did not mean for it to be used against him.
One Ms Carlamaria Rumor, said to be of RAI Television in Italy, allegedly had a clandestine phone conversation with Adoke in November 2015 after he had left office. The recording was filed as an exhibit before an Italian court currently trying Shell and Agip-Eni over allegations of corruption in the controversial sale of the oil block to the multinationals in 2011.
Adoke said the “contrived” tape by Ms Rumor was part of an elaborate set-up by some of the “powerful toes” he stepped on when he was AGF. He said the stage-managed telephone conversation was the brain child of a “diminutive” human rights lawyer and another “diminutive Presidency figure”. According to him, the “diminutive duo” used their human rights front in a Lagos-based non-governmental organisation to stage the fake phone conversation in order to nail him by all means at the ongoing trial in Italy.

In the tell-all book, published by Clink Street Publishers in London and New York, Adoke wrote: “The truth, of course, is that this is a fake tape. Absolutely fake. If this is what the Italian prosecutors would be relying upon in their case against Shell and Eni, then they have nothing. As at 5 November 2015 when the alleged phone conversation was supposed to have taken place, I was already marked for persecution. As someone who worked at the top level in government for over five years, and was privileged to be a member of the National Security Council, I would be a complete moron not to know that telephone lines were bugged and conversations recorded. I knew very well that they were digging for dirt over the OPL 245 deal. I was fully aware of the clandestine plans to nail me at all costs. I knew very well that Italian prosecutors were fishing for evidence. How would I talk so recklessly on the phone to some Italian journalist I had never met in my life!”
He said an online report alleged that he tried to “cozy up” to the said Ms Rumor by offering her millions of dollars in return for a “relationship”.

“The appropriately named ‘Rumor’ is unknown to me and had never spoken to me. What will be the motive for asking for a ‘relationship’ with a person that I had never met, or spoken to, in exchange for information that was not exclusive to me but was already in the public space? Nigerians know that I am not a stakeholder in Malabu, Eni or Shell. I did not benefit from the proceeds of the sale of OPL 245 by Malabu. If indeed I was given $2.2 million bribe for the OPL 245 transaction as alleged by the EFCC, why would I be offering the same millions to the imaginary journalist? Offering millions of dollars just to be ‘close’ to someone I had not met? Could anything be more bizarre?” he wrote.
“To be sure, I first heard of the existence of the tape in a publication by Vrij Nederland on 26 October 2017 with the title: ‘Shell in Nigeria: Corrupt Constructions.’ When the highly libellous publication was drawn to my attention, I instructed my solicitors to write to the Dutch magazine. I also requested that they disclose the tape and the details of where the alleged interview took place, including relevant dates. Vrij Nederland declined on the ground that they were protected sources. They responded to the lawyers that they would correct the libellous aspects of the story. This they attempted to do, in their online version, although not entirely to my satisfaction. If they were sure of their facts, they would not have attempted to correct the libellous aspects of their story. They would have claimed justification.

“The disclosure I requested was to afford the parties interested in the so-called tape recording an opportunity to subject it to forensic analysis to ascertain its authenticity. I was informed by sources familiar with the Italian proceedings that the contents of the recording ‘appear (on the face of it) wrong and out of question to such a point that many top officials believe the tape was manipulated.’ I was later informed that they were seeking technical expertise from phonic court experts to authenticate the voice.
“I also learnt that the number of the telephone that was supposed to have been used in the purported telephone interview was a Nigerian line. As at 5 November 2015 when the conversation reportedly took place, I was in the Netherlands. Furthermore, I had stopped using a Nigerian telephone line as far back as August 2015.”
Adoke left Nigeria at the end of President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure in May 2015 to study for an Advanced LLM programme at University of Leiden in the Netherlands, after which he did not return home. He alleged a plot to kill him, quoting high-level security sources. However, he has promised to return after attending to his health.
The highly lucrative OPL 245 had been originally allocated to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 1998 by former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, but was revoked by the Obasanjo administration in 2001 and assigned to Shell. Malabu then sued the Federal Government to court over the revocation. Both parties reached an out-of-court settlement in 2006 under which it was agreed that OPL 245 should be returned to Malabu, fronted by Chief Dan Etete, former minister of petroleum resources, who had apparently used a pseudonym in the original corporate documents.
Shell, alleging that its asset had been expropriated by Nigeria, headed for the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an organ of the World Bank, demanding $2 billion in damages. In the meantime, the out-of-court settlement/Consent Judgment reached with Malabu by Obasanjo remained in limbo for four years until Dr Goodluck Jonathan became President in 2010.
Following a petition sent to him by Malabu, Jonathan implemented the Consent Judgment and returned OPL 245 to the company in 2011. In a tripartite deal brokered thereafter by the Federal Government, Shell and Agip-Eni agreed to pay $1.1 billion to Malabu to buy 100 per cent stake in OPL 245. They also paid the Signature Bonus of $210 million — the highest in Nigeria’s history — to the Federal Government. Both payments were made into Federal Government’s account at JP Morgan, London, from where Malabu’s share was transferred to two Nigerian bank accounts.
Italian investigators and prosecutors are alleging that Malabu’s share of the payments were bribes to Nigerian government officials, while anti-corruption campaigners are saying the entire $1.3 billion should have been paid to the Nigerian government — leaving Malabu, the original OPL 245 allottee, completely out of the picture.
Other highlights of Adoke’s memoirs are:
  • The scandal around OPL 245 could have been avoided if Shell and Agip-Eni had paid $1.1 billion directly to Malabu’s accounts but trust had broken down between Shell and Malabu in the aftermath of the revocation of the oil block by Obasanjo and the Federal Government under Jonathan had to act as an intermediary to resolve the impasse
  • The Jonathan Administration only agreed to midwife the settlement on the condition that Shell would withdraw its $2 billion arbitral proceedings against Nigeria at the ICSID, as advised by Adoke
  • The money laundering case filed against Adoke by the EFCC was a manipulation of facts in a failed mortgage he took from a bank more than two clear years after the Malabu deal had been signed, sealed and delivered
  • The said mortgage was paid directly by the bank to the property developer who also returned the money directly to the bank when the transaction failed but EFCC, working under the influence of the “diminutive duo” manipulated the facts to cook up a case of money laundering against Adoke
  • EFCC cases against him have been rendered academic by a high court judgment in April 2018 which ruled that as the attorney-general, Adoke only carried out a “lawful presidential directive” over the OPL 245 Resolution Agreement and he cannot be held accountable because the president was constitutionally empowered to do so.
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Music: Emizy - More Life

Graceboy Empire Music Boss EMIZY dishes out his long awaited song MORE LIFE, this song was produced by DYC the producer behind Idowest hit song
* It is a song to motivate your hustle and keep you going .. EMIZY is letting us to know that when there is life there is Hope for everyone because we are all born to be great .. motivate yourself !
Stream and buy song online now!
Available in all digital stores 
Show love by reposting commenting and sharing, much love famz and more hits songs coming soon
#Geng_Geng
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Abdulrasheed Maina And His Enduring Public Service Legacies


Throughout history, since the human specie, described by legendary greek philosopher, Aristotle, as a social animal began to co-exist on this ephemeral pedestal dubbed ‘Life’, human history is well stocked with inapt accounts of heroes, who were never adorned with a cape, regardless of their good intentions, and humbling achievements which was intended for the greater good of their people.
These good intentioned individuals who are usually never regarded in their home town are like the prophet, who is never honored in their home town, amongst their people, for whom their noble courses are targeted.
In contemporary Nigeria, one of such individuals who have suffered unsubstantiated character assassination and whose national sacrifices have not been duly applauded is erstwhile Chairman Pension Reforms Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The PRTF under Maina, was fundamentally set up to save the pension schemes, including the most troubled Police Pension Fund.
True to it’s worth, the team led by dutiful Maina performed far beyond what he was credited for.
While the weight of unsubstantiated allegations leveled against him had tried to dim the light on his crystal achievements while he served, ngg.ng digs beyond the surface to unearth and likewise, cast a spotlight on some of Mania’s applaud able achievements while he was at the helm of affair in the pension taskforce.
To set records straight, and to project for a balanced and unabashed reporting, Ngg.ng presents Maina’s infallible achievements.
22 MODEST ACHIEVEMENTS OF MAINA AND HIS PRTT TEAM
1. The Team Recovered and Saved over N1.63Trn stolen by pension cabal.
Conducted Biometrics authentication for over 270,000 pensioners.
2. Detected / Deleted 71, 135 Ghost Pensioners from the Head of Service Pension Office.
3. Established E-Pension Management System (E-Pms) Platform.
4. Pioneered the Payment of Pensioners in the Diaspora.
5. Introduced Smart Cards to Eliminate Physical Verification of Pensioners.
6. Traced and Cracked Down on over 70,000 Pension Cartel / Mafia and Got to the Root of Pension Scam in the Entire Country.
7. Simplified the Processing Period of Getting Pension Entitlements Down to 24 Hours. Discovered a Total of over 50,000 Unpaid Pensioners (some not paid for 7-30 years) and paid them all their Entitlements.
8. Stopped Monthly Stealing of over N4.25 Bn From the HOS Pension Cut-Off N1 Bn Police Pension Monthly Releases (From N1.59 Bn to N500m).
9. Caused the Arrest and Prosecution of over 43 Pension Suspects.
10. Converted over 128,000 Hard.
11. Stopped the Monthly stealing of N300 million from the Police Pension office Account.
12. Archived Copies of Pensioners’ Files into Electronic Format.
13. Developed the smart card for pensioners’ biometric verification.
14. Detected the Fraud of over N2.7 Bn By Nigeria Union Of Pensioners (NUP).
15. Reduced High Cost of Pension Bill in Nigeria’s Budget.
16. Federal Government factored N74 Billion.
17. Discovered and Saved by the PRTT into the 2012 Budget. Seized Properties and Cash worth over N1.63Trillion.
18. Developed Pensioners Data Base for Budgeting & Efficient Pension Administration.
19. Cut-off the Pensioners’ Verification Annual Expenditure of over N4 Bn, among others.
20. Discovered 77 Government hidden Accounts and forwarded same to the two Anti-graft Agencies which resulted in the recovering of over N1.63 Trillion in both cash and Assets.
21. All these happened in just two of the over 100 pension outfits operating in government Ministries and Parastatals.
22. If Maina had been left to continue his work, who knows how much could have now been recovered. May be Tens of Trillions. Instead MAINA just got persecution, persecution and threat to life.
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INTERVIEW: Our roles in the controversial Malabu OPL 245 saga – Ex-Minister Adoke


In this third and final part of his interview with PREMIUM TIMES, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, speaks about the roles he and some other officials of the Goodluck Jonathan government played in what has become known as the Malabu OPL 245 saga. He also opens up on his next plans.

Read the first part of the interview with Mr Adoke HERE. And the second part HERE.
In that first part, Mr Adoke spoke about how his government took the decision to prosecute APC leader, Bola Tinubu, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, how he and his colleagues persuaded former President Goodluck Jonathan to concede defeat in 2015, how he was abused and called a useless attorney general by Mrs Jonathan, among other issues.

In the second part, he spoke about the Justice Ayo Salami saga, the Halliburton bribery scandal, the controversy over the Pfizer drug trial and his relationships with Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Olarenwaju Suraju and the Abacha family.

PT: Let’s now talk about the Malabu OPL 245 issue. Your name is repeatedly mentioned everywhere for your role as the Attorney General of Nigeria who sealed the contentious deal with Shell and Eni.
Adoke: I didn’t seal the deal.

PT: You signed the agreement. Is that not the case?
Was I the only one that signed the agreement? I have been maligned. I’ve been persecuted, I’ve been destroyed virtually by those who want to destroy me using a cocktail of lies and misinformation, and unfortunately using so many platforms including your platform. This is an issue I have discussed extensively in my book, but I will give you a summary.

First, today they carry the story as if Jonathan government awarded the OPL 245 to Malabu. That is not true. The allocation of that oil bloc was done in 1998. It was not the only oil bloc, there were several oil blocs that were allocated at that time, and based on the policies of the government which was to encourage indigenous participation in the upstream sector of the oil and gas sector. There was OPL 246 given to South Atlantic, there was OPL 245. Find out, do your investigation about that. There were all these allocations that were done. In the process, General Abacha died and General Abdulsalami’s government came in.

General Abdulsalami revoked some of the oil blocs but never revoked OPL 245, OPL 246 and even the one given to (Folorunsho) Alakija, and some others. Then President Obasanjo came in in 1999 and continued with the transaction until 2001 when suddenly, due to reasons best known to the actors of that time, they revoked the oil blocs. And after revoking they called on certain oil majors to come and bid. Shell bided for it at a signature bonus of $210 million dollars as opposed to the $20 million discretionary allocations that were given to these select indigenous participants to enable them to have a say in the oil and gas sector.

After the revocation of these oil blocs, Chief Dan Etete has always been the face of Malabu. Nobody saw anything wrong with it at that time. He even petitioned the House of Representatives at that time and there was a public hearing. Nobody challenged the propriety or otherwise of a former minister getting an oil bloc allocated to him by the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

The House of Representatives under the speakership of Ghali Na’Abba came up with a resolution saying that the revocation was wrongful, illegal, and should be returned to Malabu. There was nothing wrong about that. When the government did not implement on time, Malabu went to court. They were in court for a long time until there was a settlement which was reduced into a consent judgement in 2006. Nobody saw anything wrong with it.

Shortly after the consent judgement, President Obasanjo left office, the Yar’Adua government came in, Shell and co. tried to peddle their influence to get this bloc again because they claimed they had already de-risked the bloc and invested over $550 million, and nobody said anything about it at that time.

By that time, Shell had paid a signature bonus of $1million into the account of government and paid $209 million into an escrow account pending the outcome of the litigation. The question any reasonable person would ask is: “who was the official of government that gave Shell the go-ahead to “de-risk” the bloc that created the problem for Nigeria? Because if Shell had not gone ahead to de-risk or given the mandate to de-risk, it wouldn’t have had any claim or nerve to go for arbitration. But nobody is asking this vital question. Now, they were given the mandate and they went ahead and de-risked. And what did Yar’adua do? He tried to resolve the matter by setting up an inter-ministerial committee headed by Chief Michael Aondoaka as chairman. There were so many other people in that committee, including Hon. Minister of State on Petroleum, Odein Ajumogbobia, and some other people.

Then a resolution was reached. In that resolution, a certain amount of money was to have been paid by Shell to Malabu. They were supposed to be given a certain percentage in the transaction. President Yar’Adua died at the time the agreement was to be signed. After we came in, the issue resurfaced. Shell was already in arbitration claiming over $2 billion from the government. While they were claiming this $2 billion, we implemented the out-of-court settlement.

So it was not an allocation. The Attorney General does not allocate oil bloc. It was a dispute and the settlement was domiciled in the office of the Attorney General right from the time of Chief Bayo Ojo, Kaase Aondoaka, until it came to my time. I want you to look at this transition. Everybody has cut away this historical trajectory because they were not working for a credible answer, including your good self. I mean Premium Times. This was the issue up till that time.

When there was a breakdown in communication between Shell since it was the earlier agreement to be approved by President Yar’Adua but couldn’t be approved before he died. They then came to insist on its implementation because they have been given the bloc 100%. Look at the term of the settlement, it was 100%. What did Shell do? Shell used their dominant position in the market to enter a caveat worldwide that nobody should deal with Malabu on OPL 245 because they have an interest. So, there was a catch 22 situation for all of them.

At the end of the day, Shell came with ENI and ENI approached the government to say “look, we are trying to deal with Malabu and OPL 247 and Shell has an interest and we want to go with Shell on a joint venture to acquire this bloc from Malabu”.
The most irresponsible thing that Shell and ENI did was to deny knowing that they were dealing with Malabu. It was the most bizarre and most scandalous thing to do ever. I still feel bitter for that kind of white elephant lie.

Now, who did they discuss with? They came up with a resolution agreement. We said “No, that is not the way we work in government”. As a professional, knowing my limit, I sent the resolution agreement they came up with to DPR (Department of Petroleum Resources). Dr. Obaje now listed out his observations. As a result of that observation, we then said “fine, we cannot go on with this transaction until there is an inter-ministerial committee to renegotiate the resolution agreement and take cognisance of all the issues that Chief Obaje had identified”

So, a committee from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC, DPR, Ministry of Finance, FIRS and Ministry of Justice sat down and negotiated this resolution agreement and came up with resolution agreement and that was how the issue of government trying to buy into the bloc was inserted. That was the outcome of the negotiation. Even after they negotiated the resolution agreement, myself and the ministers that signed did not sign until it was sent to the president, and the president gave his approval. So, where have I gone wrong? How did that amount to allocation of oil bloc? I didn’t allocate an oil bloc. The State House counsel also represented the president in negotiating this agreement and all these people are alive.

Does it not beat your imagination that out of all these people, it is only Adoke that was singled out for attack? After the whole transaction was done, with all the presidential approval, you saw the JP Morgan report, you saw all those who authorised payment. Did you see Adoke’s name there? But because everybody was working to a preconceived answer, they must get a top government official to use as a scapegoat. So that the matter will die down and everybody will go home. But Adoke will not sit down and allow himself and his generation yet unborn to be destroyed. I needed to state my story.
Now you can begin to put things together on why they desperately wanted me and why it is at the expense of my life.

Now, when the money was paid, there were those who claimed to have worked with Malabu to source ENI to acquire the interest. They went to court in London and the court gave a restraining order saying that a certain amount of money, I think it was about $280 million should not be disbursed. JP Morgan wrote to me in my capacity as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Was I supposed to tell JP Morgan not to obey the order? I told JP Morgan ‘Obey every court order given to you until set aside. If it does not affect the rest of the money, give it to the beneficiaries.’ That was all I did.

You have seen the various letters of the current Attorney General. You have also seen my court judgment. I went to court not because I want to challenge the government but I wanted to establish the limits of the president’s power, and I think that has been well defined. The court not only said the president has the power but it said that the instructions carried out by me were lawful instructions of Mr President.

PTThe expectation was that you were going to advise the administration to simply nullify the allocation of the block to Malabu because the company had a fictitious character as director from the start.
Adoke: How can I advise? I would not have advised that. How can I advise the president to nullify by executive fiat a judgment of the court?

PT: But you could have advised the president to reconsider the transaction especially given that Etete had used fictional characters in the incorporation of Malabu.
Adoke: That was not in our knowledge and even if it were in our knowledge the only thing to do was to go to court because the court had already given a consent judgment. We were implementing a judgment of a court. I was not giving administrative advice. This man had been the face of this thing all this while. These characters that are now talking they knew all this but did not bring it to the knowledge of the government until, like in all situations, it was time to share and they had difficulties. Then they started saying it was a fictional character.

PT: So, are you saying you never knew Etete’s name has never been in the list of directors or shareholders of Malabu?
Adoke: Whether he is in the list of directors or shareholders or not, who has always been the face of Malabu? Please, let us not drag on too far. Etete has always been the face of Malabu. Those who claim that they have a stake, why didn’t they challenge it at that time? Why didn’t they place a disclaimer on him? The law says equity aids the vigilant, and not the indolent. One of the people claiming equity now, why didn’t he use his full name? Why was he using the fictitious name? He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. He who seeks equity shall do equity.

PT: So you are saying in all of these, you did no wrong?
Adoke: If I did any wrong, I will own up to it and apologize to the whole nation. And if I am confronted with the same situation that I was confronted with again, and given the directives by the government, as attorney general, I will do exactly what I did. I told you something which you need to go and dig deeper. What led to the crisis in OPL 245? You are acclaimed investigative journalists. Go and find out what led to the precursor of what happened? Go and find out the precursor of what happened with OPL 245.

PT: Why not help us with some clarity on that?
Adoke: What you are going to investigate for now is not meant for the consuming public. Before it gets to the public you need to investigate first. Go and find out the circumstances under which those oil blocs were awarded and who are the real owners of those oil blocs.

PT: You said you did nothing wrong. After the money was paid to Malabu, the funds were distributed in a way that suggested Malabu gave money to some officials.
Adoke: Did you see my name? Let me tell you something. The matter is subjudice. It is in court. Like I say, be patient to read my book.

PT: Are you saying you did not benefit from all the money shared by Malabu?
Adoke: I did not. And by the special grace of God I have not done anything wrong, and time and events will prove this.

PT: But the EFCC is alleging that you had a transaction with Alhaji Aliyu of AA Oil through whom Malabu spread money to some suspicious accounts.
Adoke: This is what I am telling you. Look, I showed you the mortgage transaction I had. I bought a house from him. When I became a minister, my SSS people said my house is not safe and I told them that it is their duty to secure us. If I wanted to build a house, how long would it take me to build a house? So I needed to buy. I started looking for a house to buy and I saw a house and they said it belonged to a man I know. I called him and he said he was going to sell it to me at N500million and I agreed because of the location.

I didn’t have that amount of money then. I approached my bankers, Unity Bank. I told them this is the transaction I have and this is what I wanted. They agreed to fund the transaction. I was to pay an equity contribution of N200million. I had a plot of land that was given to me by Bala Mohammed (then FCT minister) in my name. The bank paid directly to Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar. They paid it directly to his company, not that the money came to me.

Somewhere along the line, timelines were not being met to pay back the loan and I couldn’t even sell the land to pay the N200million equity participation and at the same time the loan was going bad and I have to be paying interest. It was a five-year term loan. So, the owner of the property came to me, which was still under construction and said since I cannot pay him the N200 million, CBN wants to buy the house and said he should sell it to them since I don’t have proprietary on the property yet. He asked for the certificate but I said I don’t have the certificate. I directed him to the bank, Unity Bank, who paid him the money and took the certificate.

I called the MD of the bank and thanked him for the loan offer while asking him to take the cash from Alhaji Aliyu and release the property’s certificates in the custody of the bank. The man paid the bank directly. Whether he paid them in dollars I don’t know. It was not me that went to the bureau de change. It was the bank that called the bureau de change people to change the money. They calculated how much the cost of a dollar was at the time. They collected the money and the bank released the certificate to Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar. Aliyu Abubakar sold the house to CBN. He had already sold the house. I think it was part of the money CBN gave him that he used because they needed to get the certificate from him.

The question you should be asking yourself is: They said he laundered money for me, he paid for my mortgage, then where is the proceed of the money? Where is the house? Why is it that the EFCC did not attach the mortgage or go for forfeiture of the house? That is the question you should have asked. That is what we call investigative journalism. That is the money laundering they said I committed.

PT: So, beyond that, there was no transaction between you and Alhaji Aliyu?
Adoke: He is from my village. All of us are from Okene. He is from Ihima area, I am from Nagazi. But beyond that, there is no transaction of money between us. But then somebody must get you. It would interest you to know that the person who wrote the petition on the mortgage issue was brought by one Suraj Olanrewaju who is close to the diminutive so-called human rights lawyer I mentioned earlier. They are working hand in hand to unnecessarily disparage me.

PT: When are you returning home? The EFCC says you have a case to answer in court.
Adoke: That is a very important question and to be frank with you I am eager to come back. As I told you, I had a very serious health challenge. I am not a man that would be going about talking about it to generate pity. I don’t want to be pitied by anybody. I don’t want pity, I want justice. I want to face prosecution, not persecution.

The issue is: if I had come back to Nigeria at the time they wanted me to come, it is possible that my health would have deteriorated, and I would not have been able to address it. I am having surgery very soon and immediately after that I would head back to Nigeria. If I am not in Nigeria by the end of July, I should be back by September. I am coming back to Nigeria. I am not going to go anywhere.

PT: There were others like you who were on some kinds of exile. But they seem to have negotiated their way back to Nigeria. Don’t you have such a window?
Adoke: Negotiate what? I am not on political exile. I am not a politician. I was a professional in government. So, when people call me a politician, I laugh. I was not a card-carrying member of the PDP.

On the issue of negotiation, let me tell you this. I have been very badly damaged worldwide. I was a member of the International Law Commission. I am sure you know how prestigious that body is. It is a 34-member body of the United Nations responsible for the progressive development and codification of international law.

With that, if they malign you and you are in Nigeria unable to state your side of the story and all they do is to continue to churn out one-sided story, you will be in trouble. This is why I wrote my book. Like I said, I am very proud that I have written my book. It is one of the best achievements I have had.

Also, with the kind of lies that people like Olanrewaju Suraj and his Global Witness people are spreading about me, one need to clarify issues. If you notice, whenever they are telling the story (of Malabu OPL 245), they take it from the middle. They don’t give the history and the trajectory of the transactions from 1998. They take it from where it pleases them, and I have found time to address all that in my book.

I have suffered tremendously. I have suffered. But I am grateful to God that I am able to address the issues and by the grace of God, I will be fine. And certainly I am looking forward to returning to Nigeria at the most by the end of September.
Source: Premium Times
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Buhari’s 7bigwins Initiative In Oil And Gas Industry Yielded Positive Impact


Tremendous progress has been made by the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari in the oil and gas industry in the last four years, a report published by the federal ministry of petroleum resources on the impact of the 7BIGWins initiative of government has revealed.

The 7BIGWins project launched by president Buhari in 2016 was an intellectual exercise essentially designed to capture the oil and gas sector holistically with the view to ensure that the industry takes off and run effectively, efficiently and seamlessly.

Under the initiative which was championed and implemented by former minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, big wins were recorded in seven critical areas including policy and regulation, accelerated income streams, gas regulation, refineries and local production capacity, Niger Delta and security, transparency and efficiency, and stakeholder management and international coordination.

According to the report, robust policies and laws were formulated to drive efficiency, encourage investment and improve local participation in the sector. “At the moment, we have new policies, we have a lot more guidelines that we have gazetted and this shows a lot of transparency if you are able to gazette guidelines that give investors a lot of confidence because they know what you are expecting from them and it is encouraging to them. Key initiatives were also implemented to generate revenue for government that includes initiating capital investment into midstream and downstream assets for example pipelines, depots and refineries; review of government equities in JVs, conduction of early lease renewal, ensure payment of outstanding royalties by oil companies, refinancing of NNPC loans, implementation of targeted borrowing, restructuring of JVs to IJVs, review and update of fiscal type guidelines to bring them in line with best practices,” the report says.

In terms of the Nigerian gas revolution agenda which seeks to introduce a significant boom in the oil and gas industry, it was also revealed in the report that the 7BIGWins was supported by enabling policies that were already being implemented to jump start the gas industry. “The actualization of this agenda would certainly ensure improved power availability for all, a geographically spread industrialization and repositioning of the country as the regional center for gas-based industries. We have equally done the gas flare commercialization programme which idea is to take away gas flare which is a health hazard issue. Right now, we are 75 per cent gone, remaining 25 percent to go. A lot is also being done with deepening of LPG gas. We want to domesticate the use of gas which is much better for the environment and much safer for the people health wise than using other fuel sources,” the report highlighted.

In the area of refineries and local production capacity, the report showed that comprehensive rehabilitation and revamp of existing refineries were carried out, while domestic refining capacity was done in co-location, greenfield and modular. “This is aimed at transiting Nigeria from being a massive importer of petroleum products to a net exporter of petroleum products and value added petrochemicals. It also helps to diversify export base and enhance import substitution, improve GDP growth and generate employment. Besides, Project 100 was launched specifically to identify 100 Nigerian companies that can get upscaled into competition for opportunities so that we can begin to get full benefits for local content,” the report further revealed.

In terms of the Niger Delta militancy, stabilizing production, transparency and efficiency as well as stakeholder management and international coordination, the report indicated that tremendous achievements were also recorded in the said areas. “Once we achieved peace in the Niger Delta, production volume moved up from 800,000 Bpd to 2.1million Bpd which is very good. In the area of transparency, we published the first monthly report of NNPC way back from 2015. That practice has continued and so people are able to know what is going on. We put very efficient policies in all the agencies – DPR, PPRA and so on so that people can know what is happening and get update about their activities. The monthly report and the KPR have been set and continued to be monitored on oversight on a monthly basis. Apart from being the President of OPEC in 2015 which was an inherited position, we created a level of trust and believe in our system to the point where we are able to help elect a Secretary General for OPEC and our contributions continued to be very valued, while the absolute focus is to get the four refineries working to their full capacity of 450,000 barrels back on track using private capital,” the report emphasized.
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Steve Benson floats Steve Benson Music Empire (SBME)



 A new wave has hit the Nigerian Entertainment Industry. 
It's the unveiling of a world class entertainment outfit, aptly named STEVE BENSON MUSIC EMPIRE (SBME).
À Music business enthusiast and songwriter, Ohenhen Osazuwa Stephen a.k.a Steve Benson (SB) has concluded plans to launch a broad-based record company that provides and produces all related high-demand entertainment solutions.
The new outfit, SBME will be a major player in the fast-growing Nigerian entertainment industry as it has huge interests and business dealings as a record label. Benson has been working underground for past four years alongside his team of dodged professionals understudying the peculiarities of the global entertainment sector.
Steve said serious plans have been made to sign not only artistes but also, Deejays too. Besides, the first act whose project is 90 per cent ready, the company is said to be setting its eyes on the big picture with the talents discovery project called The SBME Talent Hunt.
The show, according to Steve Benson, will be powered in conjunction with an international branding and events company. The contest will feature musicians (solo or bands), DJs, dancers and comedians.
Steve Benson is a songwriter and recording artiste as well as a music business enthusiast. He decided to take the backstage to empower other young and talented persons, hence the establishment of SBME  STEVE BENSON MUSIC EMPIRE.
Follow SBME on           
Instagram: @stevebensonmusicempire                       
 
Twitter: @sbmusicempire   
     
Facebook Page: Steve benson music empire                           
 
 
 © 2019 Bigtown international . All Right reserved.
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Award Winning Producer Akodaz Releases Stunning New Photos


Entreprenuer ,Beat maker, Model, actor,label boss (Money Hyper Records & Ent). International award winning music producer Apena Akeem abiola popularly known as Akodaz rocks senator wears, African native design. As he is planning to execute MH CLOTHING LINE and SHOES which he plan to launch soon. #Wewolrdwide.
See more dashibg photos below.





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The Pearls and Other Stories: Another Nigerian Author Hits The Global Market!

On Thursday, May 30, 2019, all roads led to Kiza Restaurant and Lounge in Dubai, to witness the book launch of UK-Based Nigerian Writer and Novelist, Nwanne Onyeanwuli Makanjuola. This widely anticipated book is titled: “The Pearls and Other Stories”.

The book is a collection of short stories with a fusion of diverse characters and societal events that resonates with everyone’s life and experiences. The craft and creativity infused in the book is auspicious.

Guests arrived in their numbers at the prestigious Kiza Restaurant and Lounge, a venue that sells Africa as a continent, and her diverse culture to the rest of the world. Kiza, is a home ground that has played host to some virtuoso Africans in all sectors.

The launch attracted an array of guests from different parts of the World, who had come to be part of that waking moment. In Attendance, was popular Nigerian Socialite, Hushpuppi; he was the first to acquire copies of the book. The Dubai-based socialite picked four copies of the book, and gave props to Nwanne for the creativity she employed in birthing the literary work.

 The CEO and Managing Partner of Kiza, Mr. Joe Osawaye lent his goodwill to the author and the book. He said, he admired the swiftness of African writers. He said Africa Literature hasn’t stopped breathing, and he’s looking forward to another African Nobel Prize Winner.

Dubai-based Nigerian Poet, Writer, and Journalist – Godspower Oshodin also grazed the Launch. The award-winning Poet who was one of the early birds at the event, and, a member of the Kiza Family, expressed his optimal love for the book after skimming through pages of the work. Oshodin also Express optimism that the book would be well received by the public.

The author, Nwanne Onyeanwuli Makanjuola’s passion for her craft was evident in her eyes, as she read through couple of pages from the book to the enraptured listening audience. She was delighted about the launch and the support extended towards her by families, friends, and fans who grazed the launch to pick copies of the book.

 You can grab a copy of the book online from any of these platforms.

https://www.amazon.fr/s?k=pearls+and+other+stories&ref=nb_sb_noss

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1641223






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Dr. Ibe Kachikwu: A Game Changer In Africa Petroleum Industry, And The Prospects Ahead


As all roads lead to the Inaugural Ceremony for the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari, the rave of inspiration and tension is fast spiking on who would remain in Mr. President’s Ministerial Cabinet, and those that will be brought to the frontier of a new dawn of economic revitalisation.
As we all know, Oil and gas still remains a critical enabler for the successful implementation of our budget, as well as the source of funds for laying a strong foundation for a new and more diversified economy.
One Minister who has played a significant role in the reshaping of the Nigerian Economy after all it suffered over the years, is Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has introduced some of the most Flexible frameworks in our oil sector in just a few years as minister. Some of his emphatic ideas has translated into growth in our Foreign exchange reserve as a result of increased buoyancy from the earning capacity in the oil sector.



Ibe Kachikwu & President Buhari
A Checklist of the 7 Big Wins:
When Dr. Ibe Kachikwu introduced the 7 Big Wins, critics doubted the viability of achieving what was outlined on the roadmap. But at this junction we can clearly checklist achievements from the 7 Big Wins roadmaps, ranging in host communities relationship and Niger Delta militancy and the security transformation. Funding for the sector has improved through joint venture cash calls. Investment from the Private sectors is unprecedented in that light. A couple of roadshow in India, China, and the United States so as to provide investment opportunity in infrastructure development, oil and gas facilities, operations and maintenance across the entire value chain.
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has no doubt spent the last few years exuding his sense of technocratic and administrative Dexterity with the way he has been running the laborious affairs in the Ministry and the ideas he has brought to the fore clearly show how bright the future is.
The Future & Prospects:
His poise and global drive for infrastructural developments in the Oil sector has attracted investments from the likes of Zabazaba, Etan Field, with FID of over $40billion, these are milestones that will continue to bask growth for our oil sector and the Nigeria Economy at Large.
The vitality of Dr. Kachikwu’s flexibility in the Global Oil market has opened up Nigeria to the future in joining the rest of the world in leading the market. Just recently, the Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih had reiterated the possibility of establishing an independent refinery in Nigeria, considering it the best hub from which to reach other African countries.
Dr. Kachikwu has longed emphasized on how the African continent can take a queue from the Gulfs at how the GCC countries came together to build a force that has continue to help them thrive. During the 14th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) which took place on 19 May 2019, in Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Kachikwu made a case for the need for continued monitoring of the oil market developments at the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) while noting that this will form the framework for the decisions that will be made to the OPEC Conference and OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting which will hold in June 2019.



14th JMMC Meeting
The rationale is quite simple to define, we really needed this opportunity where we can lead Africa’s response to global oil challenges. Nigeria imports the bulk of its petrol, despite being Africa’s biggest crude oil producer, due to its dilapidated refineries.  And to solve some of these plights, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu had a fruitful discussion with some of Saudi Arabia energy officials so as to sign an MoU; Areas of interest will cover the existing refinery revamp, building of a brand new refinery, LNG investments and product supply trading in crude and refined products.
Dr. Kachikwu called on Aramco to come invest in Nigeria four refineries, two in Port Harcourt, one in Warri, and one in Kaduna. And With the emergence of Dangote Refinery in 2020 which will produce 650,000 barrels being built, the prospects for the Nigeria Oil and Gas Sector glitters.
No doubts, the voice of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu which has long echoed is gaining fruitful success, that national state-owned oil and gas industries should develop common infrastructure projects in order to guarantee different possibilities for exporting their energy. This requires common understanding, financing, construction and operation.
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Meet Dunni Bills, A Nigerian Artist Shaking The Music Industry From Dubai


No doubt, the Nigerian Music industry has accommodated a couple of amazing young talents. Some nestled their creativity for a while and fizzle out again; While others has been dazzling for over a decade.

Ofcourse, the Nigerian music industry has welcomed this amazing Singer, Rapper, and Songwriter in grand-style. Kayode Oladunni Adebisi, better known as Dunni Bills is a multi-talented Art with an enthralling niche to always deliver some distinctive lyrical contents.

The Oyo State born artist developed musical interest at age 5, before he started miming some of Fela’s sounds at the age of 8. Dunni Bills is presently Head Chef at the Mcgettigans Irish Pub In Abu Dhabi, UAE . Amidst his busy and demanding busy schedule, he still doesn’t distant himself away from his musical passion.

He dropped his debut single in 2016 titled FEELING, under the auspices of Dope Naira Entertainment; a record Label he Co-own with a group of top Industry Stakeholders. His sophomore single FOLLOW FOLLOW is scheduled to drop in few days.

Dunni Bills has basked international collaborations with Mrs. Universe Asia and also with one of Indian’s Biggest Musician (Sumbal Khan).

Dunni Bills is Nigeria’s Underground Artist of the Month.





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Ben Ayade & His Audacity Towards Taking Nigeria On Digital Farming Journey

Ben Ayade & His Audacity Towards Taking Nigeria On Digital Farming Journey
Since the discovery of Cross River State in 1967, even before the birth of Ben Ayade, Cross River State has been a defining State, potent for it rich Resources, both Minerals and Human. The Oil and Agricultural rich state has evolve over the years in different sectors of the Nigerian economy. Cross River State has plays host to one of the biggest Carnivals on earth (Calabar Carnival) which has boosted the cultural mosaic of Nigeria people while entertaining millions of spectators within and outside the State, and boosting industry for all stakeholders.
In it long drive towards taking Cross River State to where it belong, Prof. Benedict Ayade has come to the forefront to rejuvenate the Audacity Cross River State has always possessed in terms of Agriculture. Going back to the root has intrigued millions of people on how Cross River State has transformed into an agriculture terrain under the leadership of the dexterous Ben Ayade.
The former Senator and Microbiologist has introduced a digital approach to farming in Cross River State; a global overview towards Precision Farming, which has been adopted by the likes of Isreal, China, and the United States.
Recently, the Governor presented iPads to at least 1,000 farmers, who had undergone training in modern farming techniques at the Nigerian-Israeli Training Centre in Abuja. Ben Ayade is ofcourse changing the narratives, as he is fast channeling Nigeria in a digital farming nation; a journey that has empowered thousands of Cross Riverian Farmers.

Without doubt, Ben Ayade’s enthralling projects in Agriculture and Infrastructure has drawn a stellar line that cannot be wipe off in the history of both economic growth and leadership.


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