The former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, yesterday, described the silence of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government over the alleged $2.5billion stolen crude oil as evidence of complicity.
Documents recently unearthed showed how 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light Crude, valued at $2.5billion was allegedly stolen and sold in China by some officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in connivance with top functionaries of the Buhari’s government.
Frank, who made the assertion in a statement, said that the failure of the Presidency to condemn the heinous crime and act to bring the conspirators to book can only point to tacit support by the Federal Government.
He wondered why history seems to have repeated itself under Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources in the last five years.
He recalled the missing “53 suitcases saga in 1984 when Buhari was Military Head of State. Again, $2.8billion oil money disappeared in similar circumstances when Buhari was federal commissioner in charge of petroleum under the Olusegun Obasanjo regime in 1978.”
He added that now, another $2.5billion has again been allegedly stolen under the watchful eyes of Buhari as President in a democratic setting, “making it seems as if he has a penchant for missing money whenever he is in charge.”
The activist lamented that his earlier call on Buhari to sack, arrest and prosecute government officials responsible for the reprehensible act fell on deaf ears.
He insisted that the silence of Buhari and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, over the international embarrassment was a direct insult on Nigerians.
Frank vowed to mobilize both local and international mass protests against the Federal Government if it refuses to act, to ensure that “this crime against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, perpetuated by influential members of the present regime is not swept under the carpet as usual.”
Frank said: “It is almost a month since this international scandal against top officials of the present administration became public knowledge, yet, no action or reaction from the Federal Government as to seeking redress and sanction against perpetrators and their collaborators.”
He, however, called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), other labour unions and prominent civil society organisations to speak up against what he described as looting of the public treasury in the country.
“It is appalling to note that the Federal Government recently borrowed $3.4billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet it appears to see nothing wrong with a few officials pocketing $2.5billion stolen oil cash.
“Buhari, in his capacity as the ‘African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion’ cannot afford to keep quiet over this mind-boggling rape on the nation’s common patrimony, an organized criminal activity that has further ruined the reputation of the country in the comity of nations.
“Those who committed this daylight robbery must of necessity be brought to immediate justice so as to deter other criminally-minded appointees out to make the world believe that anywhere you turn under Buhari’s administration you see corruption.
“I dare say that Nigerians and future generations will not forgive Buhari and his cabal, if the humongous amount involved in this open plunder is allowed to go without lawful investigation, arrest, prosecution and appropriate punishment served on the perpetrators and their collaborators – including the full recovery of the amount now cooling in the pockets of few fraudulent officials.
“The Chinese Government cannot also afford to be silent on this continental malfeasance which appears to have been coordinated and consummated in their domain.
“They must also ensure that any of their officials found to have fraudulently aided the theft and sale of the $2.5billion Nigerian crude oil is made to face the law.
“I hereby call on Nigerians, wherever they are domiciled on the face of the earth, not only to condemn this brazen criminality but to demand urgent action from their elected representatives at all levels”, he added.
He urged them to organize mass demonstrations if the Federal Government neglects to act to recover the $2.5billion now fraudulently cornered by the officials entrusted with the exploitation and sale of the nation’s natural endowments – meant for the overall development and benefit of the masses of this country.