RESPONSE TO THE STATEMENT CREDITED TO MOHAMMED ADOKE (SAN) FROM THE EXCERPT OF HIS BOOK “THE BURDEN OF SERVICE – REMINISCENCES OF NIGERIA’S FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL” BY ALHAJI MOHAMMED SANI ABACHA
The attention of the Abacha family has been drawn to the publication in the Nation Newspaper of Monday 9th September, 2019 at pages 1,7 and 42 thereof and the Punch Newspaper of Thursday September 12, 2019 at page 24 thereof containing excerpts of the publication of the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke SAN in his book “Burden of Service – Reminiscences of Nigeria’s Former Attorney General” wherein he tried shamelessly to find exit from the necessity to render account for his tenure as Attorney General and Minister of Justice by drawing the Abacha family into predicament.
We would not have spared a thought to respond to his baseless allegations against the Abacha family save for the fact that he has chosen the path of shameless falsehood to use the name of the Abacha family as excuse/justification for his chosen inability to live in a country he served and account for his stewardship.
It is pathetic that Mohammed Adoke SAN lives in self-exile as a way of running away from his shadow and the need to render account to the nation he claimed to have served with integrity and meritoriously.
We would as a family, not have been concerned about his self-exile but for the fact that Mohammed Adoke SAN, the SAINT lives in exile and is casting aspersion on Abacha family as being responsible for the fact that the Nigerian Government wants him to render account.
Any reasonable person who has served in public office must know of the elementary fact that he could be called upon as a matter of right of the Nation he served to render account of his stewardship.
In blaming the Abacha family, Adoke alleged that: “the Abacha family decided to go to court and make claims on the OPL 245 otherwise known as Malabu because the Abacha family has sympathizers in the Mohammadu Buhari Government”
It is unfortunate that the former Chief Law Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be this cheap with his statement. The Abacha family is not in court over OPL 245 but the legal entity MALABU OIL and GAS LTD is in Court over OPL 245 as distinct and separate from the Abacha family.
How cheaper can it get for a former Chief Law Officer to think and say that for Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd to seek justice through the constitutional, Legal and Judicial process requires the Abacha family having influence or sympathizers in Muhammadu Buhari’s Government and a conducive political environment.
This is not only unfortunate, but a manifest reflection of the kind of justice system over which Mohammed Adoke SAN presided as the Minister of Justice. influence peddling and sympathizers for Justice to reign. The Abachas are citizens of Nigeria and have rights like any other Nigerians but no influence or sympathizers in Buhari’s Government as a requirement for them to seek justice in court through the legal process.
It was also alleged in the said publication: “that Abacha’s son Mohammed started growing in confidence under the Buhari’s Government and has gone to file a case in court insisting that he couldn’t have done that under the previous administration.”
The company Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd has consistently engaged the legal judicial process to seek redress under previous administration. For example, Malabu went to court in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/420/2003 against the Federal Government of Nigeria over the revocation of the license of OPL 245 during the administration of president Obasanjo and which case ended in an out of court settlement at the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/A/99/M/06 in which OPL245 was restored to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd by the administration of President Obasanjo.
It was under the Administration of President Jonathan in which Adoke SAN served as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice that the said out of court settlement was actualized through the restoration of the license OPL245 to Malabu under the hand of the then Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources after the legal advice of Adoke SAN.
The Abacha family and/or Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd has always engaged the constitutional legal process in seeking redress and does not need any political sympathizers or conducive political environment to seek justice. Malabu is presently in court not because of any sympathizer(s) in Government. It has no such sympathizers and does not need one like the Adoke’s sense of justice of influence peddling would want the world to believe.
It is therefore unfortunate and totally false for Adoke SAN, a former Chief Law Officer of the Federation to have been quoted or credited as saying that:
“for the eight years that president Obasanjo was in power, the Abacha’s never came out to make a claim to OPL245. They never tried it under President Yar’adua. Under President Jonathan, they never came out boldly to assert any claim.”
It will be recalled that in 2010 Alh. Mohammed Sani Abacha instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Abuja in suit NO. FHC/ABJ/CS57/2010 before Hon. Justice Kolawole asserting his 50% ownership shares in Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd. It was during the pendency of this action that the purported re-allocation of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) was carried out under the watch of Mohammed Adoke (SAN) in 2011.
Also, Mohammed Sani Abacha asserted his ownership of 50% before the House of Representatives Committee on Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 2014. The report of the committee confirmed Mohammed Abacha’s 50% ownership in Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
It will also be recalled that when the report was challenged at the Federal High Court Abuja before Hon. Justice A. R. Mohammed, Alh. Mohammed Sani Abacha instructed the law firm of R.O. Atabo & Co. to file an application for him and Pecos Energy Ltd to participate in the case as interveners in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/816/2014.
After the unauthorized alteration on the shareholding structure as well as Directors of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd was carried out at the Corporate Affairs Commission, I instructed the law firm of R.O. Atabo & Co. to write a petition to Corporate Affairs Commission informing her of such alterations.
Again, when the shares of Mohammed Sani Abacha was completely wiped out by filing of form CO2 by Barrister Ademola at the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja during the pendency of his case before Hon. Justice Gabriel Kolawole (now a Justice of the Court of Appeal), Mohammed Sani Abacha through his Counsel wrote petition to the Director General of the Corporate Affairs Commission after which the share structure was reversed and the matter referred to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation. Notwithstanding the reversal of the share structure, Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd was purportedly sold and re-allocated to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD) and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) under questionable circumstances for a consideration of $1.3billion.
Furthermore, the sum of Eight Hundred and One Million Five Hundred and Fourty Thousand US Dollars ($801,540,000) was transferred from the Federal Government Escrow Account to Key Stone Bank and First Bank of Nigeria Plc accounts controlled by Dan Etete who is neither a shareholder nor Director of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd and without appropriation of the funds by the National Assembly – all these happened when Mohammed Adoke SAN was holding office as the Attorney General of the Federation – a legal practitioner who has been conferred with the highest honour in the legal profession by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee to uphold the rule of law and the ethics of the legal profession.
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides that all monies accruing to the Government of the Federation shall be appropriated by the National Assembly. There is no shred of evidence that the sum of $801,540,000 was appropriated by the National Assembly with a directive that same be paid to a private account control by Dan Etete. The sum was never considered during any of the budget proceedings of the National Assembly. It will be recalled that after the transfer of the funds, the money disappeared into various accounts of private individuals and companies to the knowledge and supervision of Mohammed Adoke SAN.
From the above, it can be seen that Adoke (SAN) is allergic to the truth, which does not surprise us as this attitude appears to be in his makeup. Only truth heals and he needs that healing.
Adoke (SAN) was credited to say at page 42 of Nation Newspaper of 9th September 2019 that:
“…after many legal battles with the Abachas, they agreed to repatriate their loot on 6th May 2014, when Mohammed’s Lawyer Abdullahi Haruna & Co. wrote to state that they had instructed their European Solicitor to take all necessary steps to bring to fruition the implementation to the Global Settlement Agreement signed in 2004
They also withdrew the proceedings pending at the European Court of Human Rights. He Said: “That was a major victory for Nigeria. It came 14 years after these assets had been frozen by Court Orders. The journey had been exasperating and frustrating.
“Still, the Government of Liechtenstein would not make things easy. They did not release the money without putting up stiff resistance. They came up with one condition after the other. They insisted they needed to know how we were going to spend the money. After a series of tripartite meetings involving the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Unit, an agreement was reached and the first tranche of about $242.2 million was finally paid to Nigeria
The Abacha family hastens to state unequivocally that there was no such instructions to our erstwhile Solicitor – Abdullahi Haruna to write a letter to the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as it was not Abdullahi Haruna who engaged the services of European lawyers on behalf of Abacha family. If there was such a letter which facilitated the repatriation of funds, such letter was written without the consent and authority of the family.
We are sincerely waiting for the copies of the book “Burden of Service– Reminiscences of Nigeria’s Former Attorney General” to carefully and meticulously study same and avail the Abacha family its rights under the law.
It is with this hope we conclude that the service that will send a former Chief Law Officer of the Federation on self-exile away from the very Nation he served may not really be the “Burden of Service” but the “Burden of Misdeeds”!!!