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Malabu: You Can’t Run Away From Your Shadow, Abacha Family Replies Adoke



The family of the late head of state, Gen. Sani Abachi, yesterday described statements credited to the former attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), on the Malabu oil bloc saga, as nothing but “shameless falsehood.”

The Abachas, who took up Adoke on several issues he raised on the matter, declared that he (Adoke) can’t run away from his shadow over the Malabu deal.

In a statement he issued yesterday on behalf of the family, the late leader’s son, Mohammed Sani Abacha, said that the Abachas wouldn’t have spared a thought to respond to what they described as Adoke’s baseless allegations against them save for the fact that he had chosen the path of “shameless falsehood.”

Mohammed Abacha said: “The Abacha family’s attention has been drawn to the publication in the Nation Newspaper of Monday, 9th September, 2019 at pages 1,7 and 42 thereof and the Punch Newspaper of Thursday, September 12, 2019 at page 24 thereof containing excerpts of the publication of the former attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) in his book: ‘Burden of Service – Reminiscences of Nigeria’s Former Attorney-General’ wherein he tried shamelessly to find exit from the necessity to render account for his tenure as attorney-general and minister of justice by drawing the Abacha family into predicament.

“We would not have spared a thought to respond to his baseless allegations against the Abacha family save for the fact that he has chosen the path of shameless falsehood to use the name of the Abacha family as excuse/justification for his chosen inability to live in a country he served and account for his stewardship.

“It is pathetic that Mohammed Adoke (SAN) lives in self-exile as a way of running away from his shadow and the need to render account to the nation he claimed to have served with integrity and meritoriously. We would as a family, not have been concerned about his self-exile but for the fact that Mohammed Adoke, the saint lives in exile and is casting aspersion on Abacha family as being responsible for the fact that the Nigerian government wants him to render account,” he said.

The Abachas said that any reasonable person who has served in public office must know of the elementary fact that he could be called upon as a matter of right of the nation he served to render account of his stewardship.

Mohammed Abacha noted that in blaming the late Nigerian leader’s family, Adoke alleged that “the Abacha family decided to go to court and make claims on the OPL 245 otherwise known as Malabu because the Abacha family has sympathisers in the Muhammadu Buhari government.”

He described as unfortunate that the nation’s former chief law officer could be this cheap with his statement.

He said: “The Abacha family is not in court over OPL 245 but the legal entity Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd is in court over OPL 245 as distinct and separate from the Abacha family. How cheaper can it get for a former chief law officer to think and say that for Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd to seek justice through the constitutional, legal and judicial process requires the Abacha family having influence or sympathisers in Muhammadu Buhari’s government and a conducive political environment?

“This is not only unfortunate, but a manifest reflection of the kind of justice system over which Mohammed Adoke (SAN) presided as the minister of justice, influence peddling and sympathisers for justice to reign. The Abachas are citizens of Nigeria and have rights like any other Nigerians but no influence or sympathisers in Buhari’s government as a requirement for them to seek justice in court through the legal process,” the statement said.

The Abacha family said that Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd had consistently engaged the legal judicial process to seek redress under previous administration.

He said: “For example, Malabu went to court in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/420/2003 against the Federal Government of Nigeria over the revocation of the licence of  OPL 245 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and which case ended in an out-of-court settlement at the Court of Appeal in appeal No. CA/A/99/M/06 in which OPL 245 was restored to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd by that administration.

“It was under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in which Adoke served as the attorney-general and minister of justice that the said out-of court=settlement was actualised through the restoration of the licence OPL 245 to Malabu under the then minister of Petroleum Resources after the legal advice of Adoke.

“The Abacha family and/or Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd has always engaged the constitutional legal process in seeking redress and does not need any political sympathisers or conducive political environment to seek justice. Malabu is at present in court not because of any sympathiser(s) in government. It has no such sympathisers and does not need one like the Adoke’s sense of justice of influence peddling would want the world to believe.”

“It is, therefore, unfortunate and totally false for Adoke to have been quoted or credited as saying that: ‘For the eight years that President Obasanjo was in power, the Abachas never came out to make a claim to OPL 245. They never tried it under President Umaru Musa Yar’adua. Under President Jonathan, they never came out boldly to assert any claim.”

In 2010, Mohammed Abacha instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Abuja in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS57/2010 before Justice Kolawole asserting his 50 per cent ownership shares in Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd.

It was during the pendency of the action that the purported re-allocation of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) was carried out under Adoke in 2011.

Also, Mohammed Abacha asserted his ownership of 50 before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on Malabu in 2014. The report of the committee confirmed Mohammed Abacha’s 50 per cent ownership in Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.

When the report was challenged at the Federal High Court Abuja before Justice A. R. Mohammed, Mohammed Abacha instructed the law firm of R.O. Atabo & Co. to file an application for him and Pecos Energy Ltd to participate in the case as interveners in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/816/2014.

After the unauthorised alteration on the shareholding structure as well as directors of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd was carried out at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Abachas instructed the law firm to write a petition to CAC on the alterations.

Again, when the shares of Mohammed Abacha were wiped out by filing of form CO2 by Barrister Ademola at the CAC during the pendency of his case before Justice Gabriel Kolawole (now a Justice of the Court of Appeal), Mohammed Abacha petitioned the director-general of CAC after which the share structure was reversed and the matter referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation.

Notwithstanding the reversal of the share structure, Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd was sold and re-allocated to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD) and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) under questionable circumstances for a consideration of $1.3billion.

Furthermore, the sum of $801,540,000 was transferred from the federal government Escrow Account to Key Stone Bank and First Bank of Nigeria Plc accounts controlled by Dan Etete who is neither a shareholder nor director of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd and without appropriation of the funds by the National Assembly – all these happened when Adoke was in office, he said.

“The sum was never considered during any of the budget proceedings of the National Assembly. It will be recalled that after the transfer of the funds, the money disappeared into various accounts of private individuals and companies to the knowledge and supervision of Adoke.

“From the above, it can be seen that Adoke is allergic to the truth, which does not surprise us as this attitude appears to be in his make-up. Only truth heals and he needs that healing,” the Abachas said.



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