Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president, may have been exposed by documents which showed his administration was involved in the settlement deal between Malabu Oil and Gas and two multinationals – Shell and Agip – over the contentious oil block, OPL 245. Obasanjo Tuesday reacted to claim by Mohammed Adoke, former attorney-general, that the settlement deal was endorsed by three presidents at different times. Aside Obasanjo, Adoke named ex-Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan as two other presidents the deal went through before it was finally sealed. But Obasanjo denied.
“Adoke and others should not drag me into a matter I know nothing about”.
“If they have been asked to answer questions over decisions they took while in office, they should do that honourably”.
“They should not bring Obasanjo into an Etete deal. I was not part of any such deal,” Obasanjo was quoted as saying by a PREMIUM TIMES report. Obasanjo’s defence seems brittle in face of fresh documents, TheCable suggests.
A December 2, 2006 letter by Edmund Daukoru, Obasanjo’s minister of petroleum resources, had conveyed the then president’s approval of the settlement deal among the parties.
The letter titled: ‘Malabu Oil and Gas Limited – out-of-court settlement in respect to OPL 245′, read: “We are delighted to convey that the president of the federal republic of Nigeria and commander-in-chief of the armed forces having concluded a review of your legal claims for the return of the oil block 245 has graciously approved and directed as follows.
“Malabu Oil and Gas Limited shall be at liberty to exercise all rights incidental to and consequent upon the return of the oil block to it and shall be free to assign, pledge or deal in any way with its restored rights in OPL 245, in whole or in part to any 3rd party subject as always to the operative laws of Nigeria including but not limited to obtaining all approvals permit and appropriate consents necessary.”
Before the out-of-court settlement, a document dated November 3, 2006, revealed that Daukoru brokered a similar settlement agreement with Malabu on behalf of the federal government.
The controversially lucrative oil bloc has reverted temporarily to the Federal Government based on a corruption suit the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, filed against Adoke, Etete, Shell and Agip. Adoke and a former Nigerian president were said to have been bribed to parcel away the oil bloc.
Adoke denies the charge and accused the EFCC of shielding other powerful families involved in the deal.