Osinbajo hits Jonathan again, says ‘$3bn embezzled under you could have built 7 roads’


Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has fired yet another shot at ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, saying the $3 billion allegedly frittered away through the strategic alliance contracts could have been used in constructing seven major roads.

The alliance contracts are often derided by industry experts as the biggest organised scam in the history of Nigerian oil industry.

The alliance contracts were between the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Ltd and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts (AEDC) Ltd.

NPDC is the oil development and production arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while Atlantic Energy is owned by Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko, believed to be cronies of Diezani Alison-Madueke, who served as petroleum minister from April 2010 to May 2015.

The deals were struck between 2011 and 2015.

Osinbajo listed the roads that could have been built as Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road; Enugu-PH road; East-West road; Sagamu-Ore-Benin road; Kano-Maiduguri road; Abuja-Lafia-Akwanga-Keffi road; and Lagos-Abeokuta.

He spoke at the 2018 Ogun investment forum which held in Abeokuta, the state capital.

“Yesterday at the Quarterly Presidential Business Forum, I said the main reason for Nigeria’s recursive growth is not just a matter of our relying heavily on a single commodity, it is the fact that the proceeds of that single commodity were regularly hijacked consistently by a few,” he said.

“So, for example in a so called strategic alliance contracts with the NDPC, the promoters of the companies made away with over 3 billion US dollars, almost a tenth of our reserves at a point!

“Here is a list of possible roads 3 billion dollars could have built, and at the moment we are in the course of getting 3 billion dollars to build these roads.

“We talk of the Nigerian economy without talking about the blight that was caused years ago by people simply stealing the resources of this country.”

Despite the controversy which trailed his remarks on Monday, Osinbajo maintained that Jonathan shared N150 billion two weeks to the last general election.

Critics of the immediate past president had attacked Osinbajo over the comment on Jonathan.

Referring to Osinbajo’s comment as lies, Reno Omokri, a former media aide of Jonathan to substantiate his claim.

But Osinbajo fired on, saying: “In one single transaction, the sum of N100 billion and 289 million dollars in cash were released a few weeks to the 2015 elections, it was not released as such, it was the money embezzled.

“When you consider that, in 2014, when oil prices were an average of 110 dollars a barrel, only N99 billion was spent on Power, Works and Housing. Agriculture and Transportation got N14 Billion and N15 billion respectively.

“So, the total spends on capital in these critical areas I have mentioned was only N153 billion, and over N150 billion was released and shared within three days. This is enormity of what we are talking about; there is no country in the world that can survive on grand corruption on the scale that we are talking about. And that is why it is important for the federal government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse that grand corruption.

“So, we spent, in 2017, N1.3 trillion on capital, the highest spend in the history of the country, earning almost 60% less than we were earning in 2014. So, you can do far more with less if we are prudent with the resources of this country.

“Today, with less revenue but no leakage, we have increased funding capital in power, works and housing, defence, transportation and agriculture by as much as 400%.

“Today, we are two quarters out of the recession and firmly on the path of recovery. Our external reserves are at their highest levels in five years. Inflation has dropped for 13 consecutive months, manufacturing confidence is on the rise and in 2017, Nigeria moved ahead 24 places on the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Index. And the World Bank reported that Nigeria is among top ten reforming economies in the world.”
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