David-West: NNPC, a cesspool of corruption


tam_david-westFORMER Petroleum Minister, Prof. Tam David-West, has described the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as a cesspool of corruption.

In a live television interview on Channels TV on Friday, he also described the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as enemy of Nigeria’s development.

To him, the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in the North-West states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa was not necessary because the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, has the power to send soldiers to any part of the country to curb insurrection.

On NNPC, he said: “The crisis there started as a result of zoning. Junior officers were being promoted above their seniors because of zoning. Political manipulation was being considered above merit. This led to disaffection and many of them resigned. Ironically, the resigned officials, because of their expertise and experience, would be recruited as consultants by the same NNPC. It is a crazy country.

“Now, they have turned NNPC into a money-making machinery for individuals, not for the country. They don’t even know the number of barrels being sold everyday. The management has been so loose. Oil is being lifted as if you are going to buy groundnut in the market. We have a lot of money in the country but I still don’t understand why Nigerians live in abject poverty. The system is not effective, even with the amount of barrels sold everyday.

“Why is our fuel the costliest in the world? It is because of corruption because it is not so in other oil-bearing countries. How can we be producing this much and Nigerians are this poor? They destroyed the refineries to continue to import oil. All the money we have used to import oil is enough to build 10 refineries.

“The most annoying aspect is that JTF officers will come out openly to tell us that they have discovered illegal refineries. Any country that allows its officers to embarrass it like that is not a serious country because you don’t build refineries in a day. What were they doing when the illegal refineries were being built? Illegal refineries, illegal universities. Everything about Nigeria is illegal.

“They are also giving oil pipeline protection contract to militant leaders. How could you do that? Has that stopped vandalism? Nobody could have got away with this nonsense under Buhari (David-West served in the Major-General Muhammadu Buhari regime as Oil Minister between 1984 and 1985)”.

On IMF, he said patriotic Nigerians must resist the attempt by the world body to dictate to the country. “IMF cannot dictate to Nigeria. They can’t love Nigeria more than Nigerians. We have a lot of money in the country. We don’t have to borrow money. Let’s manage our resources well.”

He also spoke on constitution review by the National Assembly, saying it was a waste of time.

“What is wrong with the Constitution we are using now? I still don’t know. The problem is not the law but the operators. Attitude of Nigerians to development is bad. The American Constitution has been on for centuries but here, we change our law the way you change your handkerchief and things are still not moving. A bad worker quarrelling with his tools.

“In 2006, Obasanjo (former President Olusegun) wanted to change the Constitution because of Third Term. He said there were over 100 flaws in the Constitution but the moment the Third Term agenda failed, all the flaws collapsed. What type of country is this? All what they are doing in the National Assembly is just a waste of time. They have not even read the Constitution because if they have done so, they will know that there is no way they will change the Constitution like that.

“How can you claim to be a Christian or Muslim without reading the Bible or the Quran? In the U.S., the first thing you read is their Constitution. Here, our lawmakers don’t even know the provisions of our Constitution. In this country, we have a lot of movement, no motion. The country is not progressing at all. Patriots must come out and talk now. I have been locked up many times. That will not stop me from saying the truth”.



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