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You lied, MEND tells Yar’Adua, NNPC GMD

Posted by By Daniel Alabrah, Lagos & James Ojo, Abuja on 2008/07/30 | Views: 1878 |

You lied, MEND tells Yar’Adua, NNPC GMD


The main militia group in the Niger Delta, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was being economical with the truth on the $12 million (N1.4 billion) the corporation reportedly paid to militants in the oil region.

The main militia group in the Niger Delta, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was being economical with the truth on the $12 million (N1.4 billion) the corporation reportedly paid to militants in the oil region.

The NNPC Group Managing Director, Alhaji Abubakar Lawal Yar’Adua, on Tuesday sparked off controversy after he was quoted as telling the House of Representatives Committee on Finance investigating remittances into the Federation Accounts by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that the corporation paid about $6million a month as protection fee to militants to protect some of its pipelines in the Chanomi Creek in Delta State.

Less than 24 hours after, the NNPC Group General Manager (Public Affairs), Dr. Livi Ajuonuma, however said in a statement that his boss was quoted out of context, though he did not deny the payment, which he said was made to a local company he failed to name.
But, faulting the corporation’s claim, MEND said in an online statement to Sunday Sun and signed by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, that the NNPC was only trying to "cover up an obvious admission by its GMD."

The group said the corporation actually paid out $25 million to those it described as "pretenders in the region" and that the money was allegedly shared by top commanders of the military Joint Task Force, senior government officials in the Delta State Governor’s Office, top management staff in the NNPC and the Presidency.

It dissociated itself from the deal and vowed to destroy the Chanomi creek pipeline and other major pipelines within next 30 days.
"It is glaring to everyone that NNPC is covering up an obvious admission by its GMD. They shared cash and it is not our priority to prove anything at this time. We have done our part and exposed the NNPC and our people who sell their birthrights," MEND said in the statement on Friday.
Besides, information scooped from the House of Representatives Committee on Finance by Sunday Sun confirmed that Yar’Adua actually made the statement at the hearing on Tuesday.

A record of the proceedings revealed that the NNPC boss said the militants’ initial demand was $30million but that after series of negotiation, the amount was scaled down.
He added that NNPC was forced to pay the sum of $6 million monthly to militants, who threatened to "deal" with the corporation.

Specifically, Yar’Adua said: "When I was repairing the Chanomi Creek pipeline, I called the boys (militants). The contractors paid the N12million per month to supervise the lines. By the time we finished the thing, they told me they wanted $30million per month.
"I tried to convince them, set up a committee and they came to $6million. I asked them to come so that I can discuss with them. They said take it or leave it and we will deal with you. Within two months, we lost crude worth $81million. So, you have to pay. That is the truth."

Meanwhile, the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security and Strategy (UNDEDSS) has called on the Federal Government to institute a judicial inquiry to unravel the truth in the alleged claim by the NNPC.
The UNDEDSS secretary, Tony Uranta, told Sunday Sun that the inquiry was necessary in the interest of peace in the region.

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