By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
Former attorney general of the Federation and minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) insisted, at the weekend, that the controversial Malabu oil Block Agreement was endorsed by the previous administrations of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
In a formal letter to his successor and the current Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Adoke narrated how Terms of Settlement on the controversial oil block were brokered and executed by Obasanjo’s administration before its implementation by Jonathan’s administration.
Adoke also urged Malami to investigate the matter thoroughly and if found wanting, should not hesitate to prosecute him.
“I believe it is your responsibility to explain to the public who are being sold a fiction that the transaction started from president Olusegun Obasanjo, under whose administration the Terms of Settlement were brokered with Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), as the then attorney general, who executed the Terms of Settlement before the tenure of president Jonathan, who approved the final implementation of the Terms of Settlement and my humble self who executed the resolution agreements. This is more so as the Settlement and its implementation were situated in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
“Honourable attorney general of the Federation, your response is crucial because it has become glaring that the actions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in respect of the transaction are not in the national interest; but rather in furtherance of a plot to serve the interests of some powerful families and individuals who are aggrieved by my refusal to accede to their requests to compel Malabu to pay them certain sums from the proceeds of its divestment in OPL 245, and the subsequent re-allocation of the Block to Shell/ENI. You will recall that I had, on several occasions, asserted this fact. I am, therefore, surprised that a national institution is being used to further the interest of individuals whose claim or shareholding, in Malabu, remains shady and prefer to engage proxies to fight their battles.”
On the recent filed charges by anti-corruption agency against him and others, Adoke stated that “recent actions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to impugn the settlement which was done in the national interest particularly their penchant to suppress facts relating to the transaction and the filing of criminal charges against me for conspiracy/ aiding the commission of Money Laundering offence and the latest allegations of bribe taking reveal very clearly that either your Office and that of the EFCC are not working in harmony or that something sinister is going on.
“Having given you the benefit of the doubt that you would not sponsor deliberate falsehood against me, my suspicion is that there is an orchestrated plot by the EFCC to: deliberately impugn a transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by at least three past Presidents and three Attorneys General; drag my name in the mud and paint me with the tar of corruption in order to attract public odium.”
Adoke also advised Malami that “As the chief law officer of the Federation, you have a public duty to speak on this matter so that Nigerians would know whether I acted mala fide or abused my office in the entire transaction leading to the final implementation of the Settlement. Nigerians need to know whether your predecessors in office from 2006 to May 2015 acted in the national interest when they brokered and implemented the Settlement.
“It will also be instructive for Nigerians to know whether your predecessors were carrying out their personal agenda or that their respective actions were carried out with the knowledge and approval of their respective Principals.
“if you find that I had breached my oath of office or abused my office, please do not hesitate to bring me to justice. However, if it is the contrary, as I strongly believe, that certain individuals who had vowed to even scores with me are now being aided by state institutions such as the EFCC; I deserve protection from these unwarranted attacks and dehumanising treatment that I am being subjected to merely because I chose to serve my fatherland.”
Recently, EFCC filed charges against Adoke and some former officials over the Malabu oil deal.