Tuesday, 21 May 2013
$2.6 Billion Indonesia Oil Investment “Fictitious,” Says Nigerian Government
The federal government this evening denied a report in the October 12 edition of The Jakarta Post in Indonesia which claimed that Nigeria will invest $2.68 billion in three refineries in that country. SaharaReporters broke the story in Nigeria yesterday.
The statement, issued on behalf of the Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Board, Dr. (Mrs.) Diezani Alison-Madueke, disassociates the Ministry, the NNPC and the Federal Government from the deal.
“The Federal Government does not have any hand in this fictitious project,” said the statement, which was signed by an NNPC spokesman. “We want to totally and unequivocally disassociate (sic) the Government from this and we don't know where this report emanated from.”
Actually, the report clearly emanated from the Republic of Indonesia, and through its most powerful newspaper. The Nigeria government, which has a fully-staffed embassy in Jakarta, does not seem to have bothered to learn the truth through the Nigeria ambassador.
The government statement bragged, however, that the government is “focused on its transformation agenda and committed to delivering on the three Greenfield Refineries on schedule," as if that would normally preclude cooperation with other countries, or legitimate investment. It called on Nigerians to discountenance the report as the Federal Government will not go far away to Indonesia “to build a 300 bpd refinery.”
Actually, yesterday’s report, which we based on the account of The Jakarta Post, indicated that the investment involves three refineries of 300bpd each, not just one.
While the government dismissed the report as “fictitious,” it curiously did not indicate any investigation of any kind so as to credibly establish how Nigeria—and not Kenya or Argentina, for example—would have entered the story. It is inconceivable that a top Ministry official made an announcement in the same town as the Nigerian ambassador worth nearly $2.7billion, and none of them has been asked for any information. If a foreign government is lying against another, such a situation ought not be casually dismissed by a junior departmental official’s press statement.
“Clearly somebody in this town is either deeply asleep, or there are some clever master-dribblers doing a subterranean Olympics on the abandoned grounds of Eagle Square,” an analyst told SaharaReporters this evening in Abuja. “The true story is yet unknown, but I would not describe it as fiction.”