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REVEALED: Ibe Kachikwu Allegedly Loses NNPC Power tussle to Aisha Buhari-led Northern Cabal…… + How Theophilus Danjuma Made Him!



We can authoritatively report that Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu has lost a bitter and acrimonious tussle for supremacy and power at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to a Northern cabal led by First Lady, Aisha Buhari. There had been rumors and speculation about internal disputes and ethnic tensions in the NNPC between Kachikwu and NNPC group Managing Director, Maikanti Kacalla Baru. NNPC sources who elected anonymity told us that the cold war is now over as President Buhari has sided with the northern cabal who have muzzled Kachikwu out of the commanding heights of authority in decision-making on Nigeria’s oil industry.

It seemed a new day had dawned on NNPC, after Kachikwu became the first boss of the agency under Buhari. But, in reality, Kachikwu, who doubles as NNPC Board chairman has been embroiled in bitter power struggles with a northern cabal, who saw Kachikwu as standing in the way of their ambitions. NNPC sources confided to us that the northern clique; some of them with very close ties to the first lady had pressured Buhari to appoint Baru to head the NNPC, but Buhari refused. Despite the pressure, Baru was elbowed aside by Kachikwu; he landed the job of NNPC’s exploration and production chief answering to Kachikwu.

Aso Rock sources told Society Reporters that Kachikwu owed his appointment as NNPC boss to one of Buhari’s closest associates, former defence minister, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, who convinced Buhari that the optics of appointing Kachikwu, who hails from the oil-rich Niger Delta, will forestall any renewed violence in the region by militants still angry following the defeat of President Jonathan. In the event, the Aso Rock sources hinted, Kachikwu was “closely watched” by northerners including Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari; Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, Secretary General at the Finance Ministry, and Tajudeen Umar, a close confidante of Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano and former CBN governor.

The Trojan horse

After failing to get Baru appointed NNPC boss, the northern cabal who were hell bent on maintaining control over Nigeria’s oil resources made a strategic retreat and plotted their next move. As oil prices plunged and the Nigerian economy headed into a recession, the cabal worked tirelessly behind the scenes to perpetrate hoarding to create artificial fuel scarcity to portray Kachikwu as incompetent. After that strategy failed to produce the intended results, the cabal enlisted the support of the first lady, Aisha Buhari, who used her position as the president’s wife to get Baru elected NNPC boss last August. Prior to his appointment Baru had languished as a senior adviser to Kachikwu, NNPC boss at the time.

With Aisha Buhari having his back, Baru decided to savor his ascendancy over NNPC by flexing his muscles. With little or no love lost between them, Kachikwu moved to clip his wings before he takes flight. Thus the chess game of power relations within Nigeria’s oil sector became enmeshed into Baru’s confrontation with Kachikwu, leading to a stand-off over who was the boss when it comes to oil matters. Neither men are allies Buhari can afford to do without, but Buhari eventually bowed to pressure from his constituency and threw Kachikwu under the bus. Baru, who hails from Bauchi, now calls all the shots at NNPC, and reports directly to the president; the de facto oil minister. In the meantime, Kachikwu as Petroleum Minister of state, and NNPC Board Chairman, has been reduced to a mere spectator with no powers to direct and exercise supervisory authority over NNPC activities.

The northern cabal completed their takeover of the oil sector following the recent appointments of Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau and Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi as executive secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) respectively.

Kachikwu’s Star Wanes

We learnt from NNPC sources that the pressure to throw Kachikwu under the bus was mounted by the first lady. Nigerians might not have been aware of the underlying factors that pushed First Lady Aisha Buhari to go public, threatening in an interview with the BBC that she would not support her husband’s re-election bid come 2019. She had earlier bemoaned the absence of “change” elements in her husband’s government. Aso Rock sources told us that the “strangers” Aisha Buhari was ranting against included Kachikwu, who she metaphorically contrasted with a situation in which “monkey dey work and baboon dey chop”. In this case, the proverbial monkey (northerners) worked hard to elect Buhari president, but the baboon (Kachikwu) is mindlessly reaping the fruits to the chagrin of the apostles of change and their hangers-on. We also learnt that, it was only after Buhari sided with Baru and the northern cabal that the first lady reversed herself and promised she will support her husband’s re-election bid come 2019.

The power struggle between Baru and the technocrats led by Kachikwu has exposed the NNPC as an agency riven by internal disputes and ethnic tensions. Aso Rock sources also tell us that Kachikwu losing influence in oil affairs to the northern elite has political implications for his home region, the Niger Delta. Kachikwu, the sources aver, has been instrumental in establishing contact and negotiating with the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) that has been vandalizing oil pipelines in the area since February. Working behind the scenes, Kachikwu, who has close ties to the oil majors, has been the arrowhead of tortuous negotiations between the federal government and Niger Delta militants towards some sort of deal that will include revamping the amnesty program for ex-militants, reduce the military presence in the region, clean up pollution; a greater share of oil revenue and also the construction of a maritime university in Gbaramatu kingdom.

“Operation Crocodile Smile”

Politically sensitive and combustible, Kachikwu’s peace overtures to the NDA was brushed aside by northerners within the military espousing a harder line. The security-minded northerners around Buhari, notably National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who both hail Borno; and the Director of State Security Service (DSS) Lawal Musa Daura, all prefer a military response including overwhelming force to neutralize the NDA while pretending publicly that they are negotiating a peaceful solution. Last September, Defence Minister Mohammed Mansur Dan-Ali presided over what was advertised as a “military drill” dubbed “Operation Crocodile Smile” involving 10,000 soldiers, including Special Forces, in Bayelsa State. “It’s not to harass, intimidate or threaten the community but to protect them from miscreants and oil thieves,” Dan-Ali said at the closing ceremony; but it was a clear signal that Buhari is talking peace while preparing for war.

Since the Avengers announced a unilateral ceasefire on August 20, ostensibly to give negotiations a chance, the government has been quiet about its strategy. The Avengers appointed Chief Edwin Clark, the veteran Ijaw leader and advisor to former president Jonathan, as leader of their negotiating team. Clark made 16 demands to the Nigerian government during a meeting with Kachikwu and President Buhari last Tuesday; warning that other militant groups are proliferating alongside the Avengers and would deepen the crisis if the government didn’t act quickly on the demands.

Yet, senior military officers, most of them northerners, argue that the military can defeat the militants with a smarter strategy. They point to an operation by Special Forces in which five militants were killed and two were arrested. But Kachikwu and the oil majors are more skeptical. Past experience suggests it would take a protracted heavy-handed military campaign, and more damage to oil installations, to defeat the new militant groups, who are more skilled and resilient than their MEND predecessors; they use deep-sea divers to attack far-flung pipelines and geo-positioning technology to escape capture.

We understands that the Gbaramatu Peninsula neighbors Exxon’s oil and gas-gathering facility and export terminal, and is a trunk route for the West African Gas Pipeline, which originates at Escravos and runs to Ghana. It’s also within striking range of Shell’s Forcados export terminal, which the NDA attacked on February 14 in a spectacular and highly technical operation, bombing its underwater pipeline. It took seven months for the pipeline, which carries 400,000 bpd to the Forcados Export Terminal, to be operational. According to sources close to Shell, 250,000-300,000 bpd was lost over seven months, at an average price of $45 per barrel, amounting to a colossal loss to Shell of $3 billion. Meanwhile, an oil industry expert told us that the stranglehold exercised by northerners like Baru at the NNPC will lead to corporate paralysis. He expressed bitter disappointment with the president for giving in to the pressure of his wife and the northern cabal, saying Baru’s appointment as NNPC boss has installed the “culture of incompetence, political opportunism, graft, brigandage, self-centeredness, insensitivity, impunity, mediocrity and greed.” The source said prior to Kachikwu’s appointment, NNPC was bankrupt and oil majors often had to acrobatically invent ways to lend money to NNPC in return for a share of crude that would normally go to the state.

The move to open NNPC’s doors last year to executives from the private sector like Kachikwu (ex- ExxonMobil) and NNPC legal advisor Chidi Momah (ex-Total ) breathe some new life into the NNPC as Kachikwu had begun finding solutions to the NNPC’s chronic shortage of cash, which hobbles its joint-ventures with the oil majors. Presently, NNPC must finance 55% of development costs on all joint-ventures it operates with Shell , ExxonMobil, Chevron , Total and ENI . It remains to be seen whether with Kachikwu now a spectator, the oil majors will keep the tap open for Baru and his northern clique.

Source: huhuonline

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More Troubles For Umo Eno As Court Rejects Stay-of-execution Request



A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed an application filed by Pastor Umo Eno seeking a stay-of-execution of the Order which had nullified his nomination as the PDP governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State.

The court which nullified Eno’s nomination, ordered that he should be replaced with Rt. Hon. Michael Enyong as the authentic PDP candidate.

In throwing out the request for stay of execution, the Court ruled that Umo Eno was never a party to the case filed by Enyong, and so his request could not be entertained by the COurt. The court therefore described Umo Eno as ‘’meddlesome interloper’’ for seeking to file an application in a matter he was never a party of.

Recall that in a judgement delivered on January 20, Justice Fadima Aminu of the FHC, Abuja, had ordered the PDP to submit Enyong’s name to INEC as its candidate. In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1295/2022 filed in August, Enyong had submitted that he won the party’s primary held on May 25. The defendant in the case was PDP. Enyong did not join Eno as a party in his case. How clever!

This means that it is only the PDP that has the locus to file an appeal or stay of execution application against the judgement which sacked Eno. So far, the PDP’s National Legal Adviser (NLA) is not willing to participate in the matter especially since he was never carried along in all the Umo Eno legal matters. Rather, the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Party had always engaged Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem (the former NLA) as its legal counsel, totally sidelining the current National Legal Adviser. Recall also that the PDP National Legal Adviser had a few weeks ago issued a public statement announcing that it is only the NLA that has the authority to brief and engage lawyers holding briefs for the party. The public statement had also warned party members to desist from engaging lawyers without his knowledge.

Meantime, I understand that Enyong’s lawyers had served INEC with the Court order and his name would soon be published by the electoral umpire as PDP’s authentic governorship candidate.

My Take:

1. The chances of Umo Eno returning to his former status as the governorship candidate is very, very slim. It probably will not happen.

2. Gov. Udom Emmanuel and the PDP have yet to come to terms with the fact that Umo Eno’s name has been deleted as the candidate. They are inconsolable in anger, grief and pain. ‘’They are experiencing a great sense of separation, akin to the overwhelming feeling of loss which one experiences when he is bereaved’’, says a political analyst and business man, Elder Aniefiok Isatt.

3. This development is also the greatest setback and the most devastating blow the PDP has ever suffered in the state since 1999. This case might just be some kind of ‘’Nunc Dimittis’’ for the PDP in the State.

4. Privatively, PDP stalwarts are quick to blame the governor for the woes that has befallen the party this season. They believe that by imposing a very unpopular person as the candidate, the governor had bruised and hurt the majority of the members.

5. The question many are pondering is: Will Udom Emmanuel take to Enyong and accept him as the PDP candidate, thus conceding that Umo Eno was never God’s revelation, contrary to what he told the people; or will the governor leave Enyong to his own devices and embrace a different person?


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Our Client Wanted To Say ‘Pupsy’, Not Her Private Parts — Lawyer Defends Embattled Nigerian Polytechnic Female Graduate



Barrister Ikechukwu Nwaopara, a legal practitioner representing the interest of Sharon Ogechi Okoroafor, the graduating student of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, who went viral on social media for saying that she graduated with the help of God and her private parts, has said his client was misinterpreted.

The lawyer, who made the appeal to the institution’s management in a statement made available to newsmen, claimed that their client had no intention of disparaging the institution’s reputation, standards or integrity.

The statement reads: “We are solicitors to OKOROAFOR OGECHI SHARON (our client under our Pro Bono (Free Legal Services) on whose behalf we write this memo to you.

“We are aware that she will be facing the school disciplinary panel this morning, and we wish to use this medium to express our confidence that the panel will carry out their duties in compliance with the principles of Fair hearing, good conscience and natural justice, devoid of harassment, intimidation, and threats.

“We have met and discussed with our Client and evidence before us shows that she has no intention to defame the character, standard and integrity of the institution. In her words what happened in the said viral video was a slip of tongue as a result of her uncontrollable ecstasy over her graduation. Her intended words were “God and Pupsy” in appreciation of the Almighty God and her dad.

“It is clear, therefore, that she had no intention whatsoever to use such a “foul word” in the said viral video to cajole or blackmail the institution, as no lecturer or name of the institution was mentioned or referred to in the said viral video.

“Our lawyers are already on ground at the institution now to follow up the proceedings at the panel against any form of intimidation or harassment. The integrity and standard of the said institution is not in doubt especially since my senior brother, Rev Dr Arimanwa took over as the Rector. Indeed, justice is for all parties.”

We had reported that after Sharon’s video went viral on the internet, the management of the institution announced that it would investigate her action as it was capable of dragging the reputation of the school to the mud.


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Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Witness Reveals How Kogi Assembly Candidate, Atumeyi Fraudulently Benefitted N681m from Union Bank Customers’ Accounts



The first prosecution witness, PW1, Olusegun Falola, in the ongoing trial of Ismaila Yousouf Atumeyi, a Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and two others, on Monday, January 31, 2023, told Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how the sum of N681m (Six Hundred and Eighty-one Million Naira) was paid into Atumeyi’s business account.

Atumeyi is standing trial alongside Ngene Joshua Dominic and Abdulmalik Salau, a former employee of Union Bank Plc, on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged cybercrime and money laundering to the tune of N1.4bn.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Falola, an Internal Auditor and Team Lead, General Investigations, Union Bank Plc, told the court that “sometime in October 2022, during the periodic internal review of accounts of customers, we observed that some accounts that were placed on No-debit were debited.

“In the course of our review, it was observed that the methodology employed in debiting the said accounts was different from the way accounts are being debited in the normal banking activity.

“Based on this, the case was assigned to me for further internal investigation. During the review, I observed that beyond the few accounts that were referred to me for investigation, there were other numerous accounts that were being debited.

“Furthermore, the debits on these accounts were traced to two beneficiaries, Atus Homes Limited account and Fav Oil and Gas Limited.

“These two accounts received the sum of N681m and N1.38bn, respectively from the account of 429 customers.”

He also told the court that further investigations revealed that Atumeyi is the signatory to the Atus Homes Limited account, while the signatories to Fav Oil and Gas are Shuaibu Yusuf and Nurudeen.

According to him, all illicit debits on the customers’ accounts were done via internet banking on one of the bank’s platforms known as Union 360.

Giving further testimony, he said: “As at the time of investigation, over 600m had been withdrawn from the account of Atus Homes Limited and over N800m withdrawn from Fav Oil and Gas.

“We also realized that they were able to make those fraudulent transfers because the bank system was fraudulently manipulated.

“It was this realization that made us know that only a person with privileged information on the bank’s information technology could have carried out such illicit transactions.

“It was based on that knowledge that we reported the matter to the EFCC for further investigation.”

Oyedepo sought to tender the petition written to the EFCC, the correspondences between EFCC and the bank as well as the defendants’ statements of account that had been identified by the PW1.

However, counsel to the third defendant, Babatunde Ogunwo, objected to the admissibility of the attached statement of account on the grounds that the prosecution had not sufficiently complied with Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act.

“I strongly believe that the prosecution has not satisfied the provisions of Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act. All I heard the witness say is questions put to him by the prosecution.

“However Section 84(2) of the Evidence Act gives conditions more than what the witness has stated.

“There are four legs as stated by the Evidence Act and the witness has only answered one. These conditions have to be complied with.

“I humbly submit that the prosecution has not complied with the conditions stated for the admissibility of the statements of account”, Ogunwo argued.

Responding, Oyedepo said that the argument of the defence counsel was misconceived and also missed its target.

He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the objection of the defence.

He also submitted that the certificate of identification as enshrined in the Section of the Evidence Act “is not a ritual that must be performed in achieving admissibility of computer-generated evidences.”

He further argued that “where the issue is as to the failure to comply with procedural steps towards admissibility, the order the court will make is not to reject the document, but to urge the tendering party to regularize.

“This document is relevant in the determination of this matter and I urge my Lord to so hold.”

In a short ruling, Justice Ringim overruled the objection of the defence and admitted the evidence in exhibit.

Justice Ringim also granted the second defendant, Dominic, bail on the same terms of the 3rd defendant, as granted on January 6, 2023.

The matter was adjourned to February 2, 2023 for continuation of trial.

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