A civil society group named New Nigeria Global Initiative (NNGI) has petitioned the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to probe the Nigeria Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva for allegedly deposing to claims under penalty of perjury in a United States Federal Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The petition, dated 8 October, 2021, was submitted to the FBI via the United States Embassy in Abuja and was received on the same day, according to an acknowledgement copy made available to the media by Nigerian representatives of the group.
The Federal penalties for perjury include fines and/or prison terms upon conviction. United States Federal law (18 USC § 1621), states that anyone found guilty of the crime of perjury will be fined or imprisoned for up to five years.
The group which has been championing transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s public sector also petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, while serving notice to petition President Joe Biden of the United States and Secretary Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State to prevail on President Buhari for the immediate sack of Mr. Sylva and Mr. Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) over “allegations of fraud, violations of United States Banking Rules and Regulations, Racketeering, financial misappropriation, incompetence, and acts of treachery bordering on treason against the Nigerian State and the Person and family of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The group represented by Ahmed Yusuf in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja said it plans to petition the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst), and the Italian Intelligence Service to immediately commence a global scale bribery, fraud and racketeering investigation into the origins of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 Contract awarded in joint venture led by Italy’s Saipem in the amount of $4 billion USD for engineering, procurement and construction of Nigeria LNG’s seventh production unit at its Bonny Island plant in Rivers state.
The case of alleged perjury against Sylva emanated from a defamation suit brought by the Minister for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva and Mr. Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in a U.S. Federal Court, against the publisher of PointBlankNews.com, Mr. Jackson Ude, international award-winning journalist famed for investigative journalism.
Sylva deposed in his affidavit of support in a United States Federal Court in the Eastern District of the Great State of Pennsylvania that he attended the University of Port Harcourt for his Bachelor’s Degree, a Doctorate Degree in International Relations from the UBIS University, Switzerland and another Doctorate Degree in Public Administrations from the Africa Institute For Public Administration in Nigeria.
However, on inquiry by the group, UBIS University disowned the Doctorate Degree in International Relations being paraded by the minister.
Aiko Juvet, the UBIS University’s Global Admissions Representative, in an email, said the school does not offer any program leading to the award of a Doctorate Degree in International Relations and has never awarded such to Mr. Sylva who claimed to have acquired the degree from the University in 2011.
Although the minister did not indicate in the court documents that his Doctorate Degree from UBIS University was awarded Honoris Causa, the University said they never awarded any Honorary Doctorate Degree to Mr. Sylva. UBIS University said they only offer Doctorate Degree in Business Administration.
The Africa Institute for Public Administration in Nigeria where Mr. Sylva claimed he received a second Doctorate Degree is not accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC), and there is no official website for the institution. It exits only on social media.
Sylva, who has been arrested in the past by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria on allegations of fraud and corruption amounting to millions of dollars including allegations of fraudulently owing 48 properties, in a sworn statement before a U.S. Federal Court claimed that he had never been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The group alleged this to be a case of perjury.
“Due to privacy concerns and sensitivity on the issues of acts of treachery bordering on treason against the Nigerian State and the Person and family of President Muhammadu Buhari, in order to avoid the global embarrassment which our revelations of these individuals’ actions will cause President Muhammadu Buhari and his family, we will be submitting petitions to the Nigeria Department of State Security (DSS), the Office of the National Security Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to provide them the opportunity to commence their internal investigations on how Timipre Sylva and Mr. Simbi Wabote committed the alleged acts of treachery bordering on treason against the Nigerian State and the Person and family of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The group cautioned Sylva and Wabote against filing lawsuits in the United States Federal Courts where they lack locus standi. “These individuals are aliens, public officers from a country amassed with corruption known all over the world. The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari had in several public speeches complained of the insane levels of corruption in Nigeria. These aliens claim to have been defamed by the publisher of PointBlankNews.com Mr. Jackson Ude; these aliens have filed frivolous cases against an American citizen in U.S. Federal Courts where they have no standing, and not only that, but they also can’t prove their cases of defamation, fraud, bribery and corruption.
“Assuming these aliens are able to get past the issue of standing which no Federal Judge in the United States will grant them, will the Nigeria Presidency and the Attorney General of Nigeria allow these individuals to provide official government documents such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) official bank statements for the past two (2) years as public record to an American Court for review?
“Will these individuals be able to provide all their bank statements to the Court for review? Will these individuals be able to provide all official correspondence and letters of contract awards, bank statements of the German company Kelvion, the Italian company Saipem and the thousands of documents dating back years from the origins of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 Contract awarded in joint venture led by Italy’s Saipem in the amount of $4 billion USD? All these documents will be requested by the court and Mr. Jackson’s Attorney in order for them to prove their cases beyond reasonable doubt in an American Court against Mr. Ude.