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I've stepped on many toes but gave my best, says Diezani

By The Citizen
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The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, on Wednesday maintained that she has stepped on many toes while giving her best to the nation.

Speaking with State House correspondents, she also denied the reports that she was pleading with former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, to talk with the incoming government in order to safe her name.

She said: 'I do believe that I have done the best for Nigeria in this job and I have attained many firsts in the history of oil and gas especially in the reforms that we have done. In this period of time, I have stepped on many big foots particularly the fleets of the cabals that were in the industry when we came in.

'Because I have said severally that we will open up the industry to all Nigerians and we have done that not to the pleasure of certain cabals.  And I have been continuously maligned because of this and we have taken millions and in fact billions of Dollars out of the hands of foreign multinationals and their subcontractors and put them in the hands of Nigerians through Nigerian Content.

Continuing, she said: 'Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have come into the oil and gas industry because of our reforms.

'Quite frankly, I think as unprecedented as it is, it does not please everybody and that cannot be helped but let us remember the unprecedented reforms that have happened in the oil industry during our time, such as major gas reforms, the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been completely revised, reformed and put into the hands of members of the National Assembly where it has languished for two years in the National Assembly.

'In that bill are all the reforms needed to tear NNPC apart, make it a National Oil company, an equity share company through transparency, accountability and responsibility and reduce corruption in the industry. We did all theses and we put them in place to reduce corruption.'

On the various corruption allegations against her, she said that her tenure witnessed the most open and well audited time in the history of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

She added: 'So for me to be tagged with various tags of corruption, $10 million jet purchase, who buys jet for $10 million dollars for goodness sake? And $20 billion missing money for which PWC had done a report and the $1.48 billion which is not missing, which is actually money transferred by the NNPC to NPDC which is a subsidiary and NPDC has actually started making payments under my directives.

'I have said during our time that there are gaps in the NNPC and I said that openly. But I can also say that there is no time in Nigerian history in the oil and gas has NNPC being as open and audited as it is today.'

'So let me state it clearly for the records that Nigeria is my country and I am not going anywhere, I love my country and I do think that I have done the best for my country and I would also like to point these malicious, malevolence, vindictive libels coming out of places like Osun Defender and other faceless online and other entities need to stop.

'We have done enough for this industry, we cannot please everybody. Yes, we have stepped on toes but we did that in the best interest of Nigeria and we have opened up the oil and gas industry to all Nigerians, thousands of Nigerians have benefited from our reforms in the system.'

On the report that she was pleading with Abdulsalami, she said: 'I believe that His Excellency has already answered that and called it unnecessary mischief and I will ask that the media do its research properly and deal with the facts. I have the privilege of meeting with many senior states men, during the course of my job in the federal executive council and I was surprised that he should be singled out in any such form. The short answer is no.'

'I have not sought such assistance because I am not aware that I have been indicted of any crime that I will need a soft landing. Over the last four years, I have been severally and unfortunately accused and labeled in so many malicious and vindictive ways. I have explained these things and pushed back robustly on these accusations and I have even gone to court on many of them. Yet they keep being regurgitated. And I think it is unfortunate, particularly when we are moving into a transition period and looking forward to an incoming government which is coming to take over from where we have ended.

'For everything that has a beginning there is an end and that is not a surprise. What is the surprise is the sort of malevolence bothering on personal malicious libel to my person during this period of time,' she said

The Minister disclosed that the National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) has started refund of $1.48 billion to the Federation Account in line with the recommendations of the Price Water House Cooper forensic audit

She said: 'The Price Water House Cooper forensic audit that was done few weeks ago in its recommendation mentioned that $1.48B was owed by NPDC for a block that had hitherto been assigned from the NNPC to NPDC which is its subsidiary and they felt that the right process would be that NPDC will refund that money to the Federation Account.

'NPDC has apparently started those refunds and it is also in discussion with NNPC and DPR on same. So the refund has actually began,' she said

According to her, scarcity of fuel being witnessed in Abuja and other parts of the country are caused by hoarding.

'This is very unfortunate and you know that product supply and distribution have been one of the high points of this administration when we came in. We have kept queues to the nearest minimum. We have moved away from the challenges of the past and ensured through our various flexible product arrangement that we kept Nigeria wet with fuel supply.

'Unfortunately, as we are coming to a transition, whenever certain things are happening, intruders will hijack the process and certain amount of hoarding taking place for various reasons, this is what we are experiencing and there is no reason for this because our reserves are enough to keep the country wet with products throughout this period.

'PMS is available, marketers should make it available to Nigerians, we have worked so hard to build the system and we don't want it distracted in these latter days,' Diezani stated. - The Nation.