Oshiomhole challenges NLC to confront Nigerian govt. on oil theft

Adams Oshiomhole

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has challenged the Nigeria Labour Congress [NLC] to ask questions from the Federal Government on how hundreds of barrels of crude oil are stolen, without check, on a daily basis.

Speaking at the ground breaking of the Labour House in Benin City, Mr. Oshiomhole said Nigeria is being run in a directionless manner and that the country’s labour movement must show more interest in the national discourse so that the ship of state can be steered in the right direction.

According to him, “issues of the management of the treasury, issues of oil theft are not the preserve of the political class. Oil is being stolen. Nigeria has a capacity for 2.5 million barrels a day. We have oil performing on an average of $108 a barrel over the past few years it has hovered on that average. Sometime it went to $111, at a time it dropped to $106 per barrel.

“Oil performance has been stable and we budget at $98, with the difference over a period of three years, we ought to have huge reserves now, so that when occasion like this comes, we will live as if there is no fluctuation. But while this was going on, we suddenly heard of crude oil theft, sometimes about 700 barrels per day is allegedly stolen. Seven hundred barrels per day, these are big vessels”, he said.

The governor declared, “I think the NLC needs to show more interest in this politics of oil theft. Who are the people stealing this oil. Since when? What has changed about the territorial boundaries of Nigeria? In good times we were told this thing is being stolen and in bad times we are told to fasten our belt. I feel strongly about those things. We have always been hearing about illegal bunkering, but we have never heard of this level of massive oil theft.

“Someone has a duty to explain that and NLC has a duty to ask. In Edo we are clear, we are deepening our taxes and we need the NLC to support us. The state has been held hostage by few unaccountable godfathers in the name of politics which people can see. Government property was sold for as low as one million naira in GRA land with house on it”.

The Governor explained “I need you to understand that the struggle we have been waging, we need to sustain it, not for my good but for the good of the state. We cannot have a country where people just feast on others and they think it is their birth right to continue to feast.

Explaining the rationale for the Labour House, Mr. Oshiomhole said, “I offered to build this house for the labour movement in Edo State because no man is free if he does not live in his own house. I believe it is more valid for a trade union movement because of the kind of work they do.

“You hire a house and it turns out that house belongs to a politician whose party is government and you are issuing ultimatum against that party, the first thing they will do is to ask you to vacate the property. I believe that God has a purpose that at this time of our history, he chooses to make me the governor of this state against all odds.”

On his part the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, represented by the Deputy President, Sidi Mohammed, said the governor has done the NLC proud as its former president and as Governor of Edo State.

“We cannot forget the sacrifices you made in the labour movement. And for those who accuse you today, they should have known that without the labour force there would not have been democracy today. You led us in the struggle, we slept in the bush, we were beaten and today they are reaping what we built yet they call us names,” he said.

Earlier the National President of the Trade Union Congress, Bobbol Kaigama, expressed delight that trade union movement has opened the year 2015 on a progressive note, stressing that the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of twin buildings as state secretariat for the councils was laudable.

Mr. Kaigama said, “For now, we commend your foresight in charting a progressive people-oriented course for comrades involved in politics. Indeed yours has been success story worthy of emulation.”


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  • ojays


    June 3, 1971.

    My dear Commander-in-Chief,

    You will recall that in a statement made by me and published in the SUNDAY TIMES of March 30, 1969, I declared, among other things, as follows:

    “Even at the federal level, I have no desire whatsoever, and I certainly cannot be tempted or induced to develop one, to head, or participate in an unelected or even an electoral-college elected civil administration in a military or any setting. At the moment, I am participating in the activities of the military government because I have been invited, and I also think it is right, so to do.
    I am, therefore, obliged, morally and for the purpose of keeping Nigeria united, to take part, as fully as I can, in any measure designed, in particular, to keep the Ibos as a constituent ethnic unit in the federation of Nigeria, enjoying equal and identical status and benefits with other ethnic units, and in general, to preserve Nigeria as an economic and political entity.”

    I should have, in accordance with this declaration, relinquished my present offices soon after the end of the civil war in January last year. But one main matter decided me against such an immediate course of action. As you know, before January 1970, the four-year development and reconstruction plan had been under active preparation, and it had been hoped that it would be launched early in the 1970/71 fiscal year. It was my strong desire to participate in the consideration of this plan. As it turned out, however, the plan was not actually considered until August 1970.

    By that time, three other factors had supervened. First, the capital estimates for 1970/71 had been delayed until the launching of the four-year development plan, which did not take place until November last year. At this late stage, I decided that the capital estimates of 1970/71 should be incorporated into those of 1971/72.

    Second, by November 1970, the time for the introduction of the 1971/72 budget was only some four months away.

    Third, as from September 1970, our foreign exchange position had started to undergo an unusual rapid deterioration. It occurred to me, in all these circumstances:

    -that it would be untidy for me to leave without completing the budget for 1970/71;
    -that it would be hardly fair to my successor for me to leave at a time when preparations for the 1970/71 budget had actively begun under my direction, and;
    -that it might be interpreted in some circles as an act of bad faith for me to leave at a time when our foreign exchange was in such a bad state, and no sensible formula had been found for arresting its deterioration.

    Now with the peace and unity of our great country fully restored and firmly re-established; with the four-year development plan already considered and launched and the capital estimates for 1970/71 completed; with the 1971/72 budget done and a reasonable solution devised for our acute foreign exchange, I feel free to act in accordance with one of my fundamental beliefs, referred to in paragraph 1 above, and publicly declared on March 10, 1969-EIGHTEEN CLEAR MONTHS before the military government’s political programme was announced by you on October 1, 1970.

    I would, therefore, like to notify you that, with effect from July 1, 1971, I am no longer willing to continue in the offices of federal commissioner for Finance and vice-president of the Federal Executive Council.

    Supplementary to the forgoing, there is another important reason for my present action. After four truly (I hesitate to say exceedingly) exacting (though thoroughly stimulating and educative) years in the Federal Ministry of Finance which, throughout the period, was incessantly beset with fiscal and monetary problems of unprecedented dimensions, and of peculiarly complex and tantalizing nature, I deem it to be in the interest of my continued good health to have a complete change of full-time occupation.

    As to my future plan, I have decided to go back to legal practice. I also want to seize the opportunity, which the military government’s six-year political programme provides, to write, if my professional engagement permit, three books which have always been very much on my mind.
    The research connected with two of these books will take me to selected developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well to ECA and OAU secretariats in Addis Ababa, the offices of some United Nations agencies in New York, and London University.

    I would like to state that though, by this resignation, I am leaving your government and literary activities as mentioned above, it does not mean that I am completely relinquishing all public services to our country and people.

    On the contrary, it is my resolve to continue, in all circumstances and until my life’s end, to see the best interests of our fatherland, and promote the welfare and happiness of our people, in every way possible.

    In this connection, I would like to assure you that I shall always be willing, on a purely AD HOC basis and providing my professional commitments permit, to render, at your request and without any remuneration whatsoever, any particular service which is within my competence to give.

    After my appointment in 1967, I submitted to you a STATEMENT OF AFFAIRS (i.e. OF MY ASSETS AND LIABILITIES) as at June30, 1967. In keeping with the code of conduct to which I subscribed, I am obliged to send you my statement of affairs as at June 30, 1971. It is, however, not possible to send the statement along with this letter. But my accountants are already working on it and as soon as it is finalized up to June 30, 1971, I shall forward it to you.

    In closing, I would like, in all sincerity, to say two things:

    Firstly, I have tremendously enjoyed working with you; and it is not without considerable reluctance, therefore, that I have to take this step.
    Secondly, I will always remember with deep gratitude, your kindness to me in releasing me from prison, and in giving me, within a year of my release, an opportunity to serve our people of Nigeria once again in a ministerial capacity, and at a time when the very existence of our fatherland was in grave peril.

    With best wishes to Victoria and your good self, and love to Ibrahim.

    Yours very sincerely,


    My dear Chief,

    I wish to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated June3, 1971, intimating me of your decision to relinquish your appointments as the vice-president of the Federal Executive Council and Federal Commissioner for Finance with effect from July 1, 1971.

    For some time, there have been rumours about your leaving the government, but I was sure, however, that if there was such an intention you would have not hesitated to notify me.

    Since I know that you must have taken your decision after the most careful consideration, no useful purpose would be served by any attempt to make change your mind.

    It is, therefore, with the greatest regret and reluctance that I have to concede to your request.
    In accepting your decision, I would like to place on record my personal appreciation of your most valuable contribution to our achievements during the last four years.

    You have earned for yourself respect from all of us who have seen you at close quarters, for your patriotism, coupled with a strong well-meaning conviction on issues of national importance.

    I respect your maturity, objectivity, and sagacity, all of which you placed at my disposal; above all, for your advice and co-operation at all times.

    Your outstanding performance as this government’s Commissioner for Finance during one of the most critical and turbulent periods of our history will always be remembered. You demonstrated, consistently, great courage, forthrightness, leadership, and a spirit of understanding which helped us to get out of our financial disaster.

    That we did not succumb to the temptation to devalue our currency during the crisis and were able to win the war entirely out of our own resources and face resolutely the immediate post-war problems of rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation was due, in no small measures, to your skill in the management of our finances.

    I am aware that your position in this government, particularly as Commissioner for Finance, will be difficult to fill. However, I have a consolation in the fact that during your tenure of office, you laid a sound foundation on which your successors could build and carry on the good work.

    I have no doubt that, at this moment, you will have the feeling that you have done your best. I share your feelings, too; and wish to extend my appreciation of the contribution of your dear wife who had had to bear more than her share of domestic burdens as a result of your public assignment.

    I am glad to note and to accept your offer to hold yourself in readiness for assignment which the Federal Government may consider necessary to give you even when you will no longer be directly associated with public life.

    Since there will be occasions soon for me and your colleagues in government to state our assessment of your contribution to the service of this nation in the last four years, I now merely wish to say how sorry I am to lose your services. We will miss your great sense of humour, your debating ability and useful suggestions at all times.

    On behalf of myself, your colleagues on the Federal Executive Council, and the people of our great country, I wish you many more years of useful life.

    My wife and Ibrahim join me in wishing you every success in your next sphere of life.

    Yours most sincerely,

  • ojays

    There can’t be any progress without the dealership. Yes PMB should lead but will Nigerians follow? There has to be a total change of attitude by all. The corruption killing the economy started from the homes of you n me. The banks yes all flout the law and helped the politicians and themselves to our common patrimony. without internal arrangements it is difficult to steal 1m going by the laws in place. So called economists asked him to liberalise the forex see where we are today bcoz of currency speculators with active participation of the banks. People are shouting diversification, is PMB going to do it for you. Is there any Nigerian billionaire who is not in oil business? Why didn’t they go into commercial agriculture? and employ several people. Why import tooth picks to Nigeria and not export from here. Why import rice and not export? Off the so called billionaires only Dangote manufactures something here. other are traders.
    If the country must move forward it must start with you and me. I am a civil servant but seriously looking to start farming by next raining season.
    You too can try with bamboo trunk and make toothpicks from it. A lot of saw dust go into flames make particular board and export.
    look around you and start doing something. PMB is leading already by introducing change mantra. You Nigerian reading this must now follow.