Group Lauds Tinubu For Halting 28-year Controversy

A group called Independent Media and Policy Initiative (IMPI) has described the decision taken by President Bola Tinubu on the 28 year- long dispute over the controversial Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 as a right intervention in government corporate entanglements.

It said in a statement signed by its chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, that the president acted in the national interest based on the potential economic benefits of developing the oil block.

This according to the policy group is because OPL 245 holds a total estimated value of 9 billion barrels of crude which Nigeria has not been able to exploit or benefit from since 1998 when it was first sold in a controversial manner to Malabu Oil and Gas.

“Like many Nigerians, we are familiar with the history of its controversial sale in August 1998 on the watch of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company owned by the then former Petroleum Resources Minister, Dan Etete.

“Since that sale, the transaction has remained the subject of various litigations starting with the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2001, who terminated the sale and, in turn, handed it to Shell without a public bid.

“This, rather than resolve the matter, triggered a deluge of criticism and calls to redeem the transaction that now extended to Malabu on one hand, and Shell and the Italian firm, ENI on the other hand when the President Goodluck Jonathan administration facilitated a $1.3billion settlement among the different claimants to the ownership of the oil fields.

“The matter remained unresolved from the sovereign point of view upon which the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari initiated a legal challenge against the sale based on the suspicion of corruption in the $1.3bn settlement by Shell and ENI which was facilitated by the Nigerian Government. We, however, observed that beginning in 2023, there had been moves to terminate the case in court.” IMPI added.

The group emphasised that a negotiated settlement is the best option open to the country after suffering huge losses in legal disputes across the world.

 

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