NNPC $20bn scam: Alison-Madueke sells NPDC to escape probe, striking unions allege

Nigerian oil workers who commenced an indefinite strike on Wednesday over the “controversial” privatisation of NNPC assets have accused Diezani Alison-Madueke, the minister of petroleum, of transferring government assets to private owners in order to evade possible probe over NNPC’s missing $20 billion.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former CBN governor and now Emir of Kano, in September 2013 wrote President Goodluck Jonathan, alleging that $49 billion was not remitted to the federation account by the NNPC.

Following the controversy generated by his letter, a committee was set up by the Federal Government to reconcile the corporation’s accounts, and Sanusi later said the unremitted fund was $12 billion and finally settled at $20 billion, about $6 billion of which, he said, was linked with NPDC.

On Tuesday, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) directed all employees of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to shut down indefinitely their locations and all oil production facilities nationwide.

The NNPC headquarters in Abuja was also shut down on Wednesday, as union members barricaded the main entrance into the facility, preventing anyone from gaining access into the complex, except some general managers who were seen being conveyed through the partially withdrawn barricades in their official jeeps.

“Madam (Diezani) has sold what seems to be the whole of NPDC (Nigerian Petroleum Development Company) to so-called private investors, but what we suspect is that she is only trying to play safe and avoid being probed by the incoming government of General Muhammadu Buhari over the missing $20 billion, as she thinks the government will be logically blocked from probing the new owners,” one of the protesters wearing red robes told BusinessDay on condition of anonymity.

According to him, “The deal has already been sealed and approved for take-off next week Monday and the workers don’t want it to happen, that’s why they have started their protest now. The over N200 billion being owed oil marketers is another issue we want resolved and we are doing it for generations yet unborn.”

Source : BusinessDay

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