OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President and Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Dear Mr. President,
RE: ADDRESSING THE CONTINUED INJUSTICE AGAINST THE NIGER DELTA PEOPLE VIZ. THE LOPSIDED APPOINTMENTS IN THE NNPC AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES/DEPARTMENTS
Firstly, we wish to extend our deepest condolences to you on the passing of Mallam Abba Kyari, your late Chief of Staff. We supplicate the Almighty for the repose of his soul, and the souls of all our country men and women who have died as result of the corona virus pandemic. We commiserate with the families and loved ones of the deceased, while we wish all who are currently undergoing treatment speedy recovery. It is our hope that government and all citizens would take even greater responsibility to stem the spread of the virus in the country, and soonest, make Nigeria COVID-19 free, by the grace of Almighty God.
Your Excellency, it is for the COVID-19 situation, and particularly, the unfortunate demise of Mallam Abba Kyari that we had restrained ourselves from writing this letter to you before now. But we are compelled do so at this time, and aware of the constraints and strict protocols that we may encounter if established procedures were to be engaged, we elected this medium.
Mr. President, the leadership of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has in the last two months, again been inundated with complaints over the continued seemingly deliberate and calculated sidelining of indigenes of the Niger Delta region in appointments and redeployments in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and its subsidiaries. These objections have amplified following the recent promotions and reorganization in the Corporation, made in March 2020 that further isolated the Niger Delta people from the mainstream management structure of the NNPC.
Your Excellency, we recall that an avalanche of condemnations from the Niger Delta/South-South greeted the vexatious composition of the NNPC BOARD that you constituted in 2016, where out of the 9 members of the Board only one person was from the South-South in the person of Dr. Thomas M. A. John from Cross River State, apart from the Minister of State, Petroleum, and one person from the South-West. The rest were all from the Northern zones of the country; with three persons from the North East zone, including the then Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru from Bauchi state and of course, Mr. President’s late Chief of Staff, who was a member of the Board until his demise, three persons from the North West zone, and one person from the North Central zone. The South-East zone, an oil producing zone, had no representation in the NNPC Board.
The lopsided NNPC Management later effected a re-organization in September 2017 that left the Region more estranged.
PANDEF put up Advertorials and Press Statements in national Newspapers against the marginalization of the region, at the time. Further to that, the National Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum and Distinguished Elder Statesman, Chief Dr. Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, CON, OFR, held Press Conferences and urged Mr. President to re-visit the provocative appointments and promotions in the NNPC and its subsidiaries, in the interest of peace, equity and justice. Other patriotic and eminent Nigerians also spoke against the illiberality and imbalances in the Corporation.
Nothing was done by Mr. President. Your administration played dumb to the protestations and genuine concerns raised by well-meaning Nigerians from within and outside the Niger Delta region.
Your Excellency, we had thought the prejudicial actions would end with your first term, and that there would be broader approach to the conduct of State affairs in your second term. Sadly, it is not so; the trend has continued, like a canon whose end leads back to the beginning.
Today, under Mr. President’s watch, the paradoxical and dismal reality is that in the management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, through which the federal government regulates and participates in the country’s petroleum industry that operates in our backyards, virtually all top MANAGEMENT POSITIONS OF THE CORPORATION and its subsidiaries, Departments, and Ventures, are held by persons from the Northern zones of the country that do not produce an ounce of Oil, to the exclusion of indigenes of oil producing Communities of Niger Delta region.
KEY MANAMEGENT POSITIONS HELD BY NORTHERNERS IN NNPC
1. Mele Kolo Kyari – Group Managing Director, GMD
2. Umar Isa Ajiya – Chief Finance Officer, Finance & Account
3. Yusuf Usman – Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power
4. Farouk Garba Sa’id – Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services
5. Mustapha Y. Yakubu – Chief Operating Officer, Refining and Petrochemicals
6. Hadiza Y. Coomassie – Corporate Secretary/Legal Adviser to the Corporation
7. Omar Farouk Ibrahim – GGM, International Energy Relations, IER
8. Kallamu Abdullahi – GGM, Renewable Energy
9. Ibrahim Birma – GGM, Governance Risk and Compliance
10. Bala Wunti – GGM, NAPIMS
11. Inuwa Waya – MD, NNPC Shipping
12. Musa Lawan – MD, Pipelines & Product Marketing, PPMC
13. Mansur Sambo – MD, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC
14. Lawal Sade – MD, Duke Oil/NNPC Trading Company
15. Malami Shehu – MD, Port Harcourt Refining Company
16. Muhammed Abah – MD, Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company
17. Abdulkadir Ahmed – MD, Nigeria Gas Marketing Company
18. Salihu Jamari – MD, Nigeria Gas and Power Investment Company Limited
19. Mohammed Zango – MD, NNPC Medical Services
20. Sarki Auwalu – Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR
The Oil Producing zones of South-South, South East and South West are left with one Chief Operating Officer Position each, and a few senior and middle level management positions in peripheral and incidental subsidiaries, departments and divisions of the Corporation.
The NNPC Board subsists as was constituted in 2016 without changes, apart from the Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, and Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari from Borno state, who replaced Maikanti Bari as Group Managing Director in July 2019. AND MR. PRESIDENT REMAINS THE PETROLEUM MINISTER.
The management pattern in NNPC is replicated in all other Oil Related Agencies such as Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), Petroleum Equalization Fund, and etcetera.
Employment into the NNPC and other related Agencies is not anything different. While young graduates of the Niger Delta region with degrees in petroleum engineering and allied fields remain jobless, Northerners with degrees in history are working as managers in the NNPC.
Ironically, the South South zone produces about 95% of the Nigeria’s crude oil Resources, which account for over 90% of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings. The effects of oil exploration on the hitherto luxurious ecosystem of the Niger Delta, and damage done to the indigenous people’s means of livelihood with little, if any, improvement in their standard of living, are sad verities that make the situation in the NNPC more vexing.
Nigeria’s Crude Oil production figures by State
1. Akwa Ibom 504,000 bpd – 31.4%
2. Delta 346,000 bpd – 21.56%
3. Rivers 344,000 bpd – 21.43%
4. Bayelsa 290,000 bpd – 18.07%
5. Edo 33,000 bpd – 2.06%
6. Ondo 60,000 bpd – 3.74%
7. Imo 17,000 bpd – 1.06%
8. Abia 11,000 bpd – 0.68%
OIL PRODUCTION IN THE NORTHERN ZONES = 0%
Chapter 2, Section 14 (3) of the Nation’s Constitution, which Mr. President swore on oath to uphold and defend, provides that “the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”
Mr. President, can the NNPC management configuration promote national unity or national loyalty? Doesn’t it go against the spirit and letters of the Constitution?
Regrettably, the uncouth discriminative bias against the Niger Delta region is even being perpetuated in the current efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the country, and in the dispensation of palliatives to vulnerable citizens by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the federal government.
Concerning the $311 million US Dollars Abacha loot recently returned from the United States, which your administration said has been allocated to projects; including the second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways, as well as the Mambilla Power Project in North East zone; no project in the South South zone is listed.
These situations further bolster the Niger Delta peoples’ demand for not only adequate participation in the management, administration, and dispensation of the resources nature has richly endowed our lands but also for the RESTRUCTURING of the country. And we will not stop; confident that someday the sun will shine on us.
Mr. President need not be apprised that the People of the Niger Delta region have nothing against any part of the country. But this gross injustice against the people who bear the brunt of the oil exploration and exploitation activities in their land must stop. The region has been a “good friend” to all parts of the country, particular to Northern Nigeria. More so, the Region has demonstrated tremendous patriotism and goodwill towards your Administration. Unfortunately, instead of appropriately reciprocating the gesture of the Niger Delta people by addressing the genuine demands of the Region as encapsulated in the 16-Point Demand that was presented by PANDEF to Mr. President on 1st November 2016, what we see is further alienation and distancing by the Federal Government and its agencies.
Your Excellency, the purpose of this letter, therefore, is to again highlight these gross disproportions to you, with the imploration that Mr. President should, in the interest of fairness, equity, PEACE and POSTERITY, correct the anomalies and give all Regions and Zones of the Country due sense of belonging; especially the Niger Delta region. It is imperative that every effort should be employed to ensure that the subsisting peace in the Niger Delta region is sustained, in the context of the COVID-19 impact on the global economy and falling crude oil price.
Lastly, may we decorously request Mr. President to note that there is a burden on you to urgently address these palpable defects of your administration, and bequeath a worthwhile legacy; such that in the years to come, when citizens reminisce on the tenure of your presidency, the contemplations would not be distorted by unnerving shadows of nepotism, bias and injustice.
We note that Mr. President recently forwarded a list of nominees for the Federal Character Commission to the Senate for confirmation; with two nominees from the Northern zones of the country designated for Chairman and Secretary of the Commission. These actions undermine national cohesion and unity. We cannot continue to run Nigeria in such manner.
Luckily, Mr. President has sufficient time, of about three years, to alter the chronicle and theme it in the direction of equity and social justice. May the Creator of heaven and earth guide you to do the required.
Thank you, Mr. President, and kindly accept the assurances of our highest esteem.
Hon. Ken Robinson
National Publicity Secretary
Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF
1. Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate President
2. Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives
3. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Senate President
4. Chairmen, Senate Committees on Niger Delta & Petroleum Upstream/Downstream
5. Chairmen, House Committees on Niger Delta & Petroleum Upstream/Downstream
6. HE, Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State
7. HE, Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State
8. HE, Prof. Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State
9. HE, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State
10. HE, Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State
11. HE, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State
12. HE, Dr, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
13. HE, Chief Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo
14. HE, General Ibrahim Babangida rtd
15. HE, General Abdulsalami Abubakar rtd
16. General T. Y. Danjuma rtd
17. Chairmen of Traditional Rulers’ Councils of the six South South States
18. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman, APC