We have reached the zenith of perfidy and you ask, how did we get to this low point? Are they for real to seek the death penalty for Dr Ifeanyi Ubah? Yeah! this is no joke the DSS wants death penalty and they said so in their court papers. They do not just want to kill his business , they want him dead too. That’s where we are!
I was born in the middle of the Nigerian civil war, a war that saw millions of my people killed and survivors losing their rights of place in a country that they fought against.
Growing up, I witnessed my people being treated unfairly and not allowed to enjoy the fullness of their citizenship. I saw the leadership care less about their pains and frustrations. Today, the majority want out of this contraption not because they are certain of their destination but because they feel unwanted and more in particular, the current regime is forcing them out.
So as I write on Dr Ubah on the cross, It’s not just him that I see hung on the cross, I see a thickening cloud around many Igbo greats like OUK, Peter Obi, Coscharis, Ibeto, Innoson, Emeka Offor etc. The determination to hang ndi-Igbo dry and exclude them from the politics and economic heights of Nigeria is real.
When I wrote and published ‘My thoughts on the harassment, intimidation, interrogation, arrest and forced trial of Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah by the DSS’, I wasn’t writing to shield him because he is Igbo but to expose the fact there is more to this whole drama than just a business that went awry. I know Ubah occupies a very strategic business interest that is subject of envy and could sooner than later put him on collision course with the state, especially with our unstructured business climate . I told him this much when we met the first time in 2013. But what do I know?
My article elicited mixed reactions from readers, some of whom accused me of taking sides because Ubah is Igbo. They tried to remind me that DG of NIA and SGF etc. are under investigation and there was no reaction by people of their respective ethnic extractions. I don’t know why some Nigerians like to compare apples with oranges.
For example; NIA and SGF were government office holders unlike Ifeanyi Ubah. NIA and SGF were not arrested by DSS or any other security agency unlike Ifeanyi Ubah. NIA and SGF were not detained unlike Ifeanyi Ubah. NIA and SGF were holding privileged positions unlike Ifeanyi Ubah who became the MD of Capital Oil based on hard work and vision.
NIA and SGF were not in commercial transactions with another entity unlike Ifeanyi Ubah’s Capital Oil.
On May 6, 2017, the DSS announced the arrest of Ifeanyi Ubah and based their action on the following allegations: Ubah engaged in acts of economic sabotage which included stealing, diversion and illegal sale of petroleum products stored in his tank farm by the NNPC. They claimed that the products stolen amount to over Eleven Billion Naira (N11bn) an act capable of negatively impacting on the national economy. The DSS further claimed that Ubah engaged in other activities inimical to national security and public order by inciting members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), a critical player in the downstream sub-sector of the Petroleum Industry, to refuse/stop the lifting of products. DSS established that Ubah planned to curry the sentiments of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers and cause them to embark on strike and also stage protests in his favour with the ulterior motive of arm-twisting the NNPC to abandon the cause of recovering the stolen products. For these offences the Nigeria state , the Presidency through the DSS wants death penalty for Ubah.
Ubah through his lawyers has since rebutted the DSS allegations. In a well circulated rebuttal, his firm Capital Oil and Gas stated that Capital Oil / NNPC are into commercial transaction and in a matter of conflict emanating from the contract, DSS does not have a place. NNPC is yet to refute that the Corporation does not owe Capital Oil. When DSS issued its press release against the person of Dr Ifeanyi Ubah calling him an economic hit man, such wrong choice of words has the capacity to cause incalculable damage on the economy as it could scare away intending foreign investors and create unnecessary panic in Nigeria’s business circles.
In 2012, Capital Oil and Gas had its N10.9billion held by the NNPC up to December 2015, yet, the company didn’t use DSS to close down NNPC. That debt dragged the Capital Oil business backward.
In October 2016, a court ruled that AMCON, a government agency should pay N26billion to Capital Oil as contained in a consent judgment delivered as far back as 2013, but the agency is yet to comply with that order.
In this current matter , Capital Oil is claiming that NNPC owes the Company over N16 billion which is far above the amount in dispute. While it may be wrong at face value for Capital Oil to have disposed products in its care without court order but nothing in the agreement between Capital Oil and NNPC forbade Capital Oil from selling the products. In fact, the agreement between the two parties made room for such sale as it states that should that happen, Capital Oil would pay 1% extra of the value of petroleum volume sold.
By the foregoing, it is evident that by virtue of the “Throughput” content of the contract, it is even difficult for DSS or NNPC to say that Capital Oil illegally diverted NNPC product because the contract accommodates inter exchanging of the products.
I detest government impunity. It is only in Nigeria that a government agency will disrespect, dishonour and disregard contractual agreements it willingly entered into and the Nigerian public will not be alarmed by it.
If there is anyone that has contributed so much to driving the economy of this country to greatness, that person is Dr Ifeanyi Ubah. Rather than being vilified Ubah should be commended for creating jobs in an unfriendly business environment like Nigeria. This is a man who is focused on how to create a merit driven economy where people get jobs based on merit rather than any other primordial considerations.
It is of note also that NUPENG and PTD have stated that Ifeanyi Ubah is not inciting them as claimed by the DSS. The question begging for answer is: ‘Who is inciting the DSS against Ubah if NNPC reportedly claimed that Ubah’s arrest has nothing to do with their transactions. Who wants Ifeanyi Ubah dead and why?
Over the years I have admired the DSS as a very professional body. As a service created by law it should not become the law itself. It should act within the confines of the law so as to always enjoy public confidence and trust. I am very confident that NNPC and Capital Oil can resolve their matter on a round table. A quick resolution of the current face-off between Ubah and NNPC will send positive signal to the Nigeria business community as no investor will want to invest in a country where the government acts arbitrarily. In the absence of a round table dialogue or negotiated settlement the DSS should do well to produce Ubah for his day in court. Since they have sought for the death penalty it is for them to prove their case that Ubah deserves death while Oke , Dasuki and Babachir walk the street. The difference is clear.