48 million barrels stolen crude oil: Our story — NNPC

THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has reacted to a report doing the rounds that it was involved in the sale of 48 million barrels of stolen crude oil.

In a statement issued on Thursday night by its solicitor, Afe Babalola and Co., the corporation stated that the entire story was a hoax designed to blackmail, defraud and embarrass the system operators and the nation at large.

It said: “SAMANO first contacted officials of the Federal Government of Nigeria sometime in 2015, indicating that it had been approached by an unnamed group in the People’s Republic of China to buy 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil which they believed to have been stolen from Nigeria.

According to SAMANO, this crude had been stolen and shipped to China before the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2015.

“SAMANO requested that it be allowed to purchase the stolen crude after its recovery by the Federal Government.

“Shortly thereafter, SAMANO indicated that it was not interested in buying the

said stolen crude as it only obliged the Federal Government with the information to assist the President Buhari administration’s fight against corruption.”

The statement reads: “The attention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been drawn to several online publications, particularly the Sahara Reporters’ publication of July 26, 2020, captioned ‘Exclusive: How Nigerian government officials, NNPC staff sold 48 million barrels of stolen crude oil, issued death threats to whistleblower,’ sponsored by SAMANO SA DE CV.

“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is also aware of several television broadcasts and commentaries in respect of the same subject. These publications replicate the content of a recent letter forwarded to NNPC on behalf of SAMANO SA DE CV by its solicitors, Messrs Lords & Temple.

“The management of the corporation states emphatically that these publications are replete with falsehoods, offensive, gold-digging and a calculated attempt by the said SAMANO SA DE CV (SAMANO) working in concert with its local and international agents to intimidate, blackmail and extort money from the Federal Government of Nigeria and NNPC.

“Given the attention which these publications have generated, NNPC deems it necessary to make the following clarifications.

“For context, as of 2015, the daily production of crude oil in Nigeria was below 1.6 million barrels. Therefore, 48 million barrels of crude oil would have been the total production capacity of the country for a whole month. It was and remains simply impossible for one-month crude oil production for the entire country to disappear without any record or trace from the shores of the country.

“Consequently, the Federal Government terminated all communications with SAMANO as it became apparent that its claim was a hoax.

“When SAMANO realised that the Federal Government was no longer interested in the non-existent stolen crude, it resorted to blackmail and intimidation of key officials of the government. SAMANO threatened that it would publicise the fact that the non-existent crude had been recovered, sold and proceeds looted by senior government officials and other personalities when it knew this was absolute falsehood.

“SAMANO made several demands including that it be paid the sum of $125,000,000 by the government officials to prevent it from disclosing this false information to the public.

“This demand soon metamorphosed into harassment as SAMANO embarked on a mischievous exercise to embarrass the Federal Government of Nigeria on international media platforms and before several international institutions like the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), all in a calculated bid to blackmail the Federal Government of Nigeria and NNPC into paying it a significant amount of money as compensation.

“As a result of the constant harassment, NNPC was constrained to make a formal report to the Department of State Security (DSS) and Nigeria Police while other victims wrote petitions in respect of the same subject to the Attorney-General of the Federation.

“After a thorough investigation by the police and DSS and confessions by agents of SAMANO, it was discovered that the allegations of conspiracy, forgery, obtaining money by false pretence, blackmail and extortion were well-founded and that some of the fraudulent activities of one Mr Ramirez and Mr Jose Salazar Tinajero (both agents of SAMANO) constituted a threat to the national security of Nigeria.”


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