Some members of the outgone administration of President Goodluck Jonathan have said President Muhammad Buhari was out of order by dissolving the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), contending that, according to the “Petroleum Act,” the board stood dissolved the moment erstwhile Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, left office.
Two members of Mr. Jonathan administration, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told SaharaReporters that there was no reason for President Buhari to send a letter to the board of the NNPC to dissolve. “That act [President Buhari’s dissolution of the NNPC board] is null since there was no board in place after the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, left office,” said one of the sources.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who constituted the current NNPC board, officially lost her cabinet position on May 29, 2015 when former President Jonathan’s tenure ended.
A second source, who served on the disbanded board, claimed that Mr. Jonathan’s administration left $5 billion in the kitty for the incoming Buhari government. He said the funds were yielded by dividends from Nigeria’s sales of liquefied natural gas.
Last weekend, Babs Omotowa, the chief executive of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG), claimed that the company paid $1.6 billion in dividends to the Buhari government. However, one of the two sources who spoke to us claimed that said the amount was $5 billion. He added that President Buhari was either hiding the correct amount paid to his government in order to justify his claim of inheriting “an empty treasury” or that the NLNG was playing a game on Nigerians.
The NLNG is a joint venture between the Nigerian government and multinational oil companies.