Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
By Harris-Okon Emmanuel, Correspondent, Warri
There is no sector of the Nigerian industry as tedious to lead or as given to controversy, no doubt due to the strategic place the sector holds in the economy.
The bulk of Nigeria’s revenue largely depends on oil and gas revenue, hence the attention focused on the ministry and whoever leads it. This no doubt explains the heat on the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke whose sack as been called for severally.
The latest indictment for the Minister is the result of the report by the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led task force on oil revenue, which believes she has some explaining to do in the way she has held forte in certain areas.
But the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) has faulted the calls for the sack of the Petroleum Minister.
Nigerian Labour Congress, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and the United Action for Democracy, among other groups had led campaigns for the dismissal of the Minister.
Indeed, the report accused Ministers of Petroleum Resources between 2008 and 2011 of handing out seven discretionary oil licences, while $183 million in signature bonuses was missing from the deals.
The report further alleged that three of the oil licences were awarded since the current minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, came into office in 2010.
But NDIMRC in a statement signed by its President, Nelly Emma, Secretary, John Sailor and Public Relations Officer, Mukoro Stanley, made a case for the embattled Petroleum Minister, denouncing calls for her sack.
Describing Mrs. Alison-Madueke as the best Petroleum Minister ever produced by the country, the group said she must not be sacked by the Presidency, saying Ribadu’s report was not being fair to her.
While urging those spearheading the sack of Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke not to take the people of Niger Delta for granted, NDIMRC implored all those rooting for the removal of the Petroleum Minister to appreciate her tireless efforts in the oil industry.
“The Oil Minister should be commended for her transparency in the industry and encouragement of indigenous companies. She has brought sanity into the oil industry since she came on board as Petroleum Minister,” he said in a statement.
“Our findings in the oil sector have shown that the Petroleum Minister has not given discretionary award since the inception of the current administration, so why will somebody recommend her sack in the oil sector probe? She should be commended for the wonderful work she is doing in the sector and not calling for her head; this is unacceptable to our group and the good people of the oil rich Niger Delta region.
“The Oil Minister has been the saving grace for our indigenous companies, she has helped in their capacity building and if not for her, many successful indigenous firms operating in the region wouldn’t have seen the light of day. We know the game plan of those from the Western and Northern parts of the country who are carrying out the campaign for her removal, we want to make it known to such people that the position of the Petroleum Minister has become the preserved of the Niger Delta people and there is nothing anybody can do about that. We pick the bills of this country and therefore we deserve the right to keep the position of the Oil Minister.
“If they are not careful, we will move for the removal of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engr. Andrew Yakubu and replace him with somebody from the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
“The Minister has been able to give a very good account of herself in the Petroleum Ministry; she has been able to give proper account of the amounts of oil explored, exported, imported and of monies spent and the revenue generated and so it is needless to ask her to step aside to allow for investigation.
“The Ribadu Report will be doing a great injustice to her if she is actually indicted; she has proven herself to be very competent and we are impressed with her handling of activities in the oil sector and we are calling on all those calling for her removal to have a re-think because she is the best for the job.
_“The Petroleum Minister is not the cause of the corruption in the oil sector and she has tried her best to rid the sector of corruption and those who have been consistently calling for her sack and prosecution are being unfair to her and the nation. We should all join hands with the Petroleum Minister in her fight against corruption in the oil sector rather than asking her to resign or be kicked out by the Presidency. We will not accept the call from certain quarters for her sack or voluntary resignation; she is doing a good job in the oil industry and she must be allowed to do this job.
“We want to make it very loud and clear that the Ribadu’s Report cannot harm the Petroleum Minister who will not vacate her position till 2020; we are determined to ensure that the position of the Petroleum Minister do not go to the North or the West again. All attacks and intimidation of the Minister who have increased our oil production and curtailed the activities of oil bunkering must end now, otherwise we will return fire for fire and all illegal oil blocks given to those from the West and North before the Petroleum Minister came into office will be withdrawn and given to the people of the Niger Delta Region.”