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Bad Luck: How Presidet Buhari Dumped DPR Boss, Sarki Auwalu, Blacklisted Him From NPRA Top Job

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• How Addax Petroleum scandal cost Auwalu the lucrative opening

Sarki Auwalu is like a rusted fender on the automobile of the incumbent government – tarnished and undeserving of mud flap. The head honcho of the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR), was recently tossed aside like a shriveled citrus rind, dried of juice and nutrients, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The latter suddenly withdrew Auwalu as a nominee for the position of the Director-General (DG) of the new Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA).

Auwalu was undoubtedly gobsmacked. To be denied such a position of eminence, widely acknowledged as a promising meal ticket, is like going to hell without having to die first.

The DPR boss nearly became the first DG of the NPRA, a job that would have seen him controlling hydrocarbons distribution and transportation.

Even though President Buhari initially nominated Auwalu for the role, he subsequently changed his mind, and wrote to the Senate at the end of September, proposing that the job goes to Farouk Ahmed, NNPC boss, Mele Kyari’s former downstream adviser.

Ahmed was one of those responsible for setting up talks on the construction of a gas pipeline between Nigeria and Morocco.

Auwalu’s position was weakened in May 2021 as a result of his involvement in the row over the decision to revoke the mining licenses of Addax Petroleum, a subsidiary of China’s Sinopec group.

Despite enjoying the backing of the Secretary of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, the DPR boss lost the battle over the licenses, which got restored to Addax – thanks to the pressure applied by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) boss, Mele Kyari.

Through the impasse, Kyari, reportedly enjoyed the backing of President Buhari, the titular head of the petroleum ministry since 2015.

It would be recalled that Auwalu, in a surprise move, revoked OMLs 123, 124, 126, and 137 from Addax Petroleum in March, thus incurring the wrath of the presidency.

One month later, President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, issued a statement to say that the head of state had overruled the DPR’s decision to award the blocks to Kaztec Engineering and Salvic Petroleum on the basis that only the Nigeria National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) has the authority to do so. Buhari then announced on April 27, that the licenses had been restored to Addax, a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned group Sinopec.

But Auwalu, close to Kaztec and Salvic, run by billionaires Emeka Offor and Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka “ABC” Orjiako respectively, came up against another much more powerful network crowned by NNPC’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Mele Kyari, and Buhari himself.

Auwalu lost to the Kyari’s more surefooted network but the matter certainly didn’t end there.

Interestingly, however, soon after Nigeria revoked the four licenses: OML 123, 124, 126, and 137 held by Addax Petroleum because it failed to carry out work on the licenses, DPR head, Sarki Auwalu, announced that the government had returned the licenses to its former Chinese owners.

In truth, however, the DPR never returned the oil blocs to the Chinese operators, rather, it sold ownership of the licenses to Emeka Offor’s Kaztec Engineering and ABC Orjiakor’s Salvic Petroleum Resources at 20 percent and 29 percent respectively.

Excitedly, the duo committed to their acquisitions with lofty expectations of making extreme profit from their ventures; in time, they hoped to acquire higher stakes and thus increase their profits. They were euphoric about their presumed shrewdness and ability to collude with the DPR and certain backers within the presidency to outwit the Chinese investors.

But unknown to Offor and Orjiakor, they were in for a rude shock. Contrary to their belief, they were in fact the outwitted ones. The underlying intrigues and truth of the transaction made them look like piteous dunderheads who were beaten at their own game.

To their chagrin, Offor and Orjiakor discovered that despite their presumed sagacity and business intelligence, they had been bested by a younger man, 37-year-old Abdullahi Haske, who acquired 51 percent of the oil blocs.

Haske is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AA&R Investments, an indigenous oil exploration major, credited with finding oil in Bauchi State. He is also involved in marine services, aviation, engineering, and agriculture investments.

There is no gainsaying Offor and Orjiakor got schooled on the pernicious intrigues of crafty, cutthroat enterprise. Asides from the heartbreak of watching their fantasies of making filthy lucre crash in the dust, both men were peeved that they got outwitted and outclassed by a much younger Haske.

Further findings revealed that 37-year-old Haske, who is, by all means, their senior partner and superior enjoys the backing of more powerful actors in the presidency at whose intervention, he was able to acquire the largest stake of the controversial oil blocs.

At 37, Haske has certainly established his dominance over Offor and Orjiakor, even though they are much older and had been around for a longer period, doing business in the country’s oil sector.

It would be recalled that Haske enjoyed the backing of the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, the late Maikantu Baru, who reportedly made him the billionaire stakeholder in the oil sector. In the wake of Baru’s demise, Haske has appreciated in stature, business, and political connections. He is untouchable too hence Mele Kyari, the current GMD of the NNPC finds it extremely difficult to curtail him.

 

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Perm Sec Denies Sexually Harassing Female Subordinate, Says, She Accused Me Because I Refused To Pay Her Bills.

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The permanent secretary of the federal ministry of foreign affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa, says he is being accused of sexual harassment by Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, an official of the ministry, because he refused her demands.

 

Recall that the minister of foreign affairs, Yusuf Tugga, had notified Folasade Yemi-Esan, the head of service of the federation (HoS), of the allegation.

 

In a letter to Yemi-Esan, the minister said it was necessary to communicate the development to her following the “gravity of the matter” after Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, wrote a petition to him.

 

However, in response to the allegation, Lamuwa said his failure to pay Ajayi’s bills on an official trip to Davos and refusal to grant her access to policy files and financial records of the ministry were the reasons why she accused him of sexual harassment.

 

The permanent secretary said he has never sexually harassed her but has maintained a professional relationship with all his subordinates.

 

“I have served for nine years cumulatively in the State House, in the Office of the Vice President, Chief of Staff to the President, and the exalted Office of the President at various times under Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, Mr. David Edevbie, Amb. Abdullahi Gwary, and lastly, Amb. Lawal Kazaure,” Lamuwa said.

 

“I received three letters of commendation at various times from the State House for meritorious service.

 

“On allegations of female directors being harassed, I have never had any incident with any female director in any hotel room, nor have I ever removed any female officers’ names from trips or postings because they refused to comply with any sexual demands.

 

“No four women or any number could have shared any alleged ordeal with me with her, as no such incidents have happened in the past, and it is untrue that any such common knowledge exists in the Ministry, as there is no basis for it.

 

“From the foregoing, I believe Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s action might not be unconnected with my failure to pay her Davos bills or give her access to the Ministry’s policy files and financial records.

 

“For example, on 12th January, 2023, while in Davos, on a WhatsApp chat, she tried to know what I and the DFA were doing about the payment of the outstanding Nigerian Mission’s 1st Semester Allocation of about N12,957,103,477, claiming to know the Minister has spoken to the CBN Governor on the issue.

 

“In my response, I told her that Missions’ funding should not concern her, as it was being handled at the highest level. Her response was ‘Noted Sir. As directed by the Hon. Minister sir, does it concern Me?’. I wrote back to say, ‘I sorted that out with the HMFA yesterday’. And she said ‘thank you’. I knew she was angry with me about that.

 

“It is clear that there are two issues that have been worrying Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi and were therefore waiting for any opportunity to get back at me.”

 

The permanent secretary added that they had exchanged jokes on many occasions in

the presence of other people.

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Foreign Affairs Ministry Perm Sec, Lamuwa, Suspended Over Sexual Harassment Scandal

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The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa has been suspended over allegation of sexually harassing a married female staff of the Ministry.

 

Recall that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, wrote to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, over allegation of sexual harassment levelled against the Permanent Secretary.

 

One of the Minister’s aides, Mrs. Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, stated that Lamuwa sexually harrased her.

 

Lamuwa had served as Nigeria’s ambassador to the Republic of Senegal with concurrent accreditation to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania before his appointment as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

He joined the foreign service in 1993, was born in 1967, and hails from Funakaye Local Government Area of Gombe State.

 

In a letter dated May 27, Tuggar said he was compelled to write to inform the Head of Service of a formal complaint against Lamuwa on allegations of sexual harassment.

 

“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly.

 

“Please find attached a copy of the complaint I received via email. May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” Tuggar wrote.

 

Source squealed that Lamuwa had been asked to step aside by the Office of the Head of Service.

 

He was given till Friday last week to vacate office and the immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Benaoyagha Okoyen, assumed office on Monda

y in acting capacity.

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Globacom commits to Ojude Oba 2024

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Digital solutions provider, Globacom, has declared its sponsorship of the Ojude Oba Festival for this year. The event holds in Ijebu Ode on Tuesday, June 18, 2024.

 

At the pre-event press conference held on the grounds of the Awujale’s Palace in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Globacom’s representative, Mr. Kazeem Kaka, stated that the company was dedicated to promoting Nigeria’s rich cultural legacy at all times.

 

He disclosed at the event that Globacom’s “sponsorship of festivals is aimed at identifying with the cultures and traditions of the Nigerian people, being an indigenous company. By sponsoring Ojude Oba and other Nigerian festivals with huge tourism potentials, such as Ofala of Onitsha Kingdom, Globacom is helping to promote the cause of tourism in the country”.

 

“Globacom’s collaboration with the custodians of this festival is in order to showcase the company’s interest in the cultural activities, traditions and events that bind the Nigerian people together as one geographic entity,” he stated, adding that Globacom is also showcasing other festivals with the vision of promoting the tourism potentials of Nigeria in that sector.

 

He stated that the company’s commitment to the nation’s unity is also expressed via the promotion of the customs and cultures of the people.

 

During the pre-festival press conference yesterday, Chief Olu Okuboyejo, the Chairman of the Ojude Oba Planning Committee, praised Globacom for its constant support of the historic celebration.

 

The event is mostly sponsored by Globacom, and this year’s edition, with the theme “Unity and Harmony in Ijebuland…The gift of Ojude Oba,” is the 18th. Glo is known for being the largest corporate supporter of traditional and cultural events in the nation.

 

Ojude Oba, which is celebrated yearly two days after the Islamic Eid El-Kabr celebration, is a social event that serves as a foundation for the promotion of the social, political, and economic growth of the Ijebu area.

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