The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Partners for Petroleum and Energy Sector Prosperity Initiative (P-PESPI) say the court cases regarding the OPL 245 deal is an “embarrassment” to the presidency.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the two bodies said they support Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, in his opinion that the court charges be struck out.
Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, had advised Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), that the case against the accused persons in the 2011 deal could not be sustained.
Mohammed Adoke, former minister of justice, and Dan Etete, former minister of petroleum resources, are among those accused by EFCC of committing a $1.1 billion fraud in the deal made to Shell/Eni by Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd.
In the statement issued by Chinonso Obasi, NANS president, and Lord Ibiang, chairman of P-PESPI, the bodies said the oil deal “has been in legal tango for over twenty years.”
Describing the OPL 245 as an “investment haven”, they said Nigeria needs such “huge” foreign investments to generate employment.
“The litigation is embarrassing to the presidency and stakeholders that should stop,” the statement read.
“A way forward or roadmap should be designed to enable Nigeria benefit from such her prolific assets.
“We are calling on the federal government to take advantage of the terms of April 2011 separate agreements to acquire a major stake in the OPL 245 by converting it to a production sharing contract (PSC) between FGN/NNPC, Shell and ENI/AGIP through Nigerian PSC mechanism.
“We wish to say that AGF Abubakar Malami’s advice to Buhari is in good faith and patriotic.”
The groups said they have conducted a research on the oil block, adding, “we observed that total investment from AGIP involved in both the Zabazaba and Etan fields which includes a power plant, and a new refinery is in excess of $15 billion and can generate thousands of Jobs.
“NANS and P-PESP shall be embarking on more fact-finding visits to relevant stakeholders involved in the matter. Let’s help develop our country.”