A Nigerian online news agency, SaharaReporters have leveled allegations of a cover up among government officials.
The allegations are in connection with an investigation into a massive fraud at a Nigerian oil company, Sahara Energy.
The agency claims that although operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided the Lagos and Abuja headquarters of Sahara Energy, government officials ordered EFCC not to publicize the raid. An excerpt from the allegation reads;
“SaharaReporters learnt that EFCC agents seized computers from the firm, but interventions from high-level officials of the Buhari regime meant that the investigation has not advanced or see the light of the day.
Our sources named Mr. Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, as a key ally of Sahara Energy, and the official behind attempts to scuttle the firm’s billion dollar fraud.
The current chairman of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Mohammed Buba, who was appointed on May 25 during the labor strike against fuel price increase, was a director at Sahara Energy.
Our sources said that Chief of Staff Kyari had since his appointment worked to shield Sahara Energy from any serious investigation.
Mr. Buba, who is from Borno State, is one of the Chief of Staff’s closest friends. He was a former MD of Pipelines and Product Marketing Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
SaharaReporters learned that Mamman Daura, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s closest friends, is also involved in efforts to cover up investigations into Sahara Energy.
An investigator disclosed that EFCC operatives found significant information regarding how former Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke used the firm to funnel funds to third parties. The source disclosed that the funds in question amounted to close to $400 million.
Sahara Energy is named as one of the firms that reaped hundreds of millions of dollars through crude oil swap deals introduced by Ms. Alison-Madueke during her ministerial tenure.
The former minister’s offshore processing agreement with Sahara Energy also involved the owner of Aiteo, Benny Peters, Atlantic Energy, owned by Jide Omokore, and a fugitive oil dealer, Kola Aluko. Investigators believe that the firms made away with at least $4 billion of public funds through the opaque arrangements.
Much of the revelations against Sahara Energy has come from fraud suspects currently under investigation by the EFCC. One of our sources said the informants were amazed that Sahara Energy has so far been shielded from the kind of publicity and shame extended to much smaller players.
Last month, a company registered by Sahara Energy, Actus Integrated, was revealed as having given $60 million through Fidelity Bank to help former President Goodluck Jonathan rig himself into office during the 2015 presidential election.
One source told SaharaReporters that the company might have equally donated heavily towards President Buhari’s presidential campaign through his friend Maman Daura and Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
National Broadcast: PDP Slams Buhari Over ‘Disappointing, Empty’ Speech – PDP
Recall that Buhari in his speech called for an end to the protest, adding that his government had already accepted and started implementing demands of the protesters.
He, however, failed to acknowledge the shooting of protesters by soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday night by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodinyan, the PDP said Buhari’s address was depressing and failed empathy test.
The party appealed to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of the nation.
PDP Asks Buhari To Stop Killing Of #EndSARS Protesters Across Nigeria
This was contained in a statement titled “EndSARS- Lekki Massacre,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, late on Tuesday.
Ologbodiyan said, “The Peoples Democratic Party, condemns in very strong terms, the killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos as well as other parts of our country.
“It is shocking that security agents and, in some cases, thugs, were reportedly deployed to end the lives of promising Nigerians. This, to say the least, is saddening.
“Those responsible for the heinous murder of the innocent and harmless Nigerians must account for their nefarious acts.
“The PDP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct an end to these wanton killings across our nation.
#EndSARS: Gov Bello Warns Protesters Against Overthrowing Buhari
He stated this during an interview with Africa Independent Television AIT on Monday night.
Bello called on his fellow state governors to tack charge in their respective states so as to prevent loss of lives and properties due to attacks by hoodlums.
He, however, warned Nigerian youths to resist the temptation of using the current situation in the country to seek an undemocratic change in leadership.
The Governor warned that those interested in the presidency must wait till 2023 and go through democratic processes.
He urged the protesting youths to leave the streets and embrace dialogue.
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