Federal Republic of Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Fuel Subsidy Debacle (Part II)

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By Erasmus Ikhide

‘Politics Nigeria’, an online news medium came to town yesterday, with what we already knew thus: “Emefiele suspended over $1 Billion transaction allegedly linked to Dangote”. Now, it is clear that Godwin Emefiele’s suspension is reportedly tied to a staggering $1 billion scandal that unfolded just before the Presidential inauguration.

His suspension, arrest and detention arose after Emefiele’s borrowing of $1 billion from Afrexim Bank on April 24, 2023, after the elections, while preparations for the May 29 inauguration was crystalizing.

According to the report, within two days of receiving the money, $750 million was swiftly transferred to Aliko Dangote’s Dubai accounts, using a ‘Form A’ – without the knowledge of the then President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The huge fund was allegedly received from Afrexim Bank into the CBN’s JP Morgan account on April 24, 2023, out of which $750 million was immediately transferred to Dangote’s Bluestar Dubai account, within two days using the “Form A” transaction method, bypassing the requirement of a Letter of Credit.

Bluestar has had ties to Dangote since 2007. Sources within the CBN also claimed that Emefiele solely sold the dollars to Dangote at an unbelievably low rate of 445 Naira to the dollar.

While some CBN officials raised concerns about these transactions, this revelation highlights the potential for money laundering and illicit activities within Nigeria’s financial system, thereby tarnishing the CBN’s integrity under Emefiele’s leadership.

In the first part of this piece, I also pointed out how in 2016, Alhaji Aliko Dangote got $2b dollars allocation from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by processing ‘Form A’ for intangible goods.

He used the money – like the ones before it from the CBN through the same process – to build factories of fully integrated quarry-to-customer producer with production capacity of up to 51.6 million tonnes per annum (Mta) in Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, as at 2022.

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has told the global community that Nigerian government lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil, valued at N16.25 trillion ($46.16 billion) to crude oil theft between 2009 and 2020. Immediate past National Security Adviser, General Babagana, also said that Nigeria might lose $23 billion in 2023 to crude oil theft.

The present government of Senator Bola Amhed Tinubu of the APC, just as his successor, Ex-President Muhammandu Buhari hasn’t read the riot act to the security agencies concerned or map out any visible strategy to confront the known organized behemoth of crude oil criminal syndicates.

It was reported on August 8, 2018, that Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the installation of technology monitoring schemes and structures under the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) for N17 billion. The technology which was designed to track and monitor tankers conveying fuel and other petroleum products was not acquired while the N17 billion approved for it was diverted.

If President Bola Tinubu wants Nigerians to trust his commitment to stamping and tackling the hydra-headed monsters pillaging the oil industry, and the existing primitive colonial approach, he should revisit and trace the individuals and companies that got the money for that purpose.

The problem with Nigerian State and its successive governments is that, they incentivize impunity, rewards criminalities and have been nurturing business profligacy for the very few privileged members of the business community, like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who wholly buys the dollars at official rates, while they are allowed to import all manners of goods into the country, and the majority in the same businesses are left to slug it out, in the hands of black market Bureau De Change operators.

This is in spite the fact that the likes of Aliko Dangote, in the last 5 years, have been having import duties worth of N16 trillion waived for them, yet prices of good and services keep skyrocketing by the day.

Ex-President Muhammandu Buhari’s government revealed on December 19, 2018 that government enterprises, including the CBN owed about N10 trillion in unremitted operating surplus as at August 2018.

The details were provided. The said sum of N10 trillion remains unpaid till date, and no one is asking questions.

A group of lawyers engaged by NIMASA confirmed that 60.2 million barrels of crude oil valued at $12.7 billion of crude oil was stolen and illegally exported to the United States of America between January 2011 and 2014.

This has not been recovered. Also, the House of Representatives investigated and confirmed that undeclared crude oil worth $17 billion was exported to global destinations during the same period.

The affected companies are known but government seems to lack the will to bring them to book and recover the sum of $29.7 billion, being the value of the stolen crude, according to Hon. E J Agbonayinma in the 8th National Assembly.

Also, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) revealed that between 2009 and 2020, that Nigeria lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at N16.25 trillion ($46.16 billion) to oil theft.

The security forces have not been able to stop the stealing and smuggling of crude oil from Nigeria, knowing that crude oil are not smuggled with bowls and buckets.

It is common knowledge that between 1993 and 2016, successive regimes have spent through the NNPC, about $6.065 billon on the so-called Turn Around Maintenance (TAN), and rehabilitation of the four refineries at various times.

It is in the public domain that the Turn Around Maintenance of the refineries was not carried out, yet APC/Buhari’s government which rode to power on the plank of anti corruption mantra, openly promoted corruption to grand act that made them ‘fantastically corrupt’.

The Federal Government has reportedly invested $2.7 billion in Dangote Refinery, while the NNPCL will supply the refinery with 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Interestingly, the Federal Government said it has awarded the contracts for the rehabilitation of the two refineries in Port Harcourt for $1.5 billion, as well as Kaduna and Warri refineries for $1.4 billion, respectively.

How about the Nigeria LNG Limited that is jointly owned by Nigeria and the Organization of Islamic Countries (OICs)?

The 49% shares of Nigeria in the joint venture were paid for from the Federation Account in 1989.

On March 29, 2021, former President Buhari disclosed that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) had generated $114 billion in revenues, paid $9 billion in taxes, $18 billion as dividend and $15 billion in Feed Gas Purchase to the Federal Government.

Up till this moment, NNPCL has refused to account for the $33.9 billion dividend and feed gas that was allegedly diverted by the NNPCL.

Last week, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari, came under intense public scrutiny when he told the nation that the Federal Government still owes some companies N2.8 trillion in fuel subsidy payments.

But the monumental fraud that has characterized the fuel subsidy scam has been confirmed by the Buhari regime.

In economics sense, while countries and business community encourage proliferation of businesses, Aliko Dangote thinks otherwise.

Aliko Dangote is responsible for the death of most thriving textile industries namely; Nigerian Textile Mills, one of the most thriving vertically integrated mill producing 100% Cotton fabrics in Nigeria in Northern Nigeria, ditto polypropylene bag Industry.

Dangote also sets out deliberately to compete with BAGCO. Lafarge, which bought over the former Portland Cement at Ewekoro, Ogun State, is not fairing any better under the very terrible unequalled business environment.

In the year 2018, a company constructed 10 kilometers pipeline for Dangote fertilizer plant in Lagos and finished the job in 2019, and was issued a job completion certificate, after going through the necessary audit with Delloit in 2021.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote initially agreed to settle out of court but all of a sudden he fired the initial lawyer and went ahead to hire a powerful SAN, and a former NBA chairman, who is currently facing EFCC over fraud and money laundry.

The said contractor is in so much debt with local and foreign banks, as well as with subsidiary suppliers. Now, the businessman’s life is in danger.

How do you expect small businesses to grow with this type of abominable business ethics, deliberately designed to suffocate other struggling businessmen and women?

What justifications does Aliko Dangote has for sitting on the young man’s money for over 3 years and 6 months?

Who’s going to redeem the industrial sector’s of this given abnormalities and open ended internal colonialism?

This has been the nauseating routine for Alhaji Aliko Dangote, in the last two decades, for the rentier state in Nigeria, where the most powerful in Nigerian economy system, rides roughshod, and the rest of us are pretending as if nothing is happening, because of dubiety and hogwash appellation of the ‘Richest Man in Africa’.

So much for a country rooted in terrible ritual and magic!

Erasmus Ikhide can be reached via: ikhideluckyerasmus@gmail.com

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