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The Yar’Adua Family’s Oil Holdings

June 26, 2007
Umaru Yar’Adua’s election as Nigeria’s president will oblige oil companies operating in the country to take a fresh look at their alliances in Nigeria and court firms and persons close to the new leader. Several members of his extended family are already active in the industry. Yar’Adua Family interests in Intels. The elder brother of Yar'Adua, Shehu Yar’Adua, who was Olusegun Obasanjo’s vice president in the former president’s first term of office, took part in founding the oil logistics and port concern Intels. Run out of London by two Italian nationals, Jan Angelo Perruchi and Gabriele Volpi, as well as by France’s Daniel Sigaud, Intels manages the oil terminals and oil services zones at Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri and is also active in Ivory Coast, Congo-B and Angola. Since Shehu Yar’Adua’s death in prison in 1997, his family’s interests in Intels have been managed by his widow, Hajia Binta Yar’Adua. Intels has also employed several nephews of Umaru Yar’Adua, notably Murtala Yar’Adua, eldest son of Shehu. The fact that Intels can open doors to the president’s office will be invaluable to it. During the final years of Obasanjo’s presidence, the company found itself in bad odour with the government because of its links with former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who stood unsuccessfully for the presidency against the candidate of Obasanjo’s People’s Democratic Party. Family Ties to NNPC. One of the top executives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is also well known to the new president. Abubakar Lawal Yar’Adua (A.L. Yar’Adua) is group executive director in charge of refineries and petrochemicals and sits on the board of the state-controlled company. Although they share the same family name (the Hausa language name for a tree in northern Nigeria) A.L. Yar’Adua and the new president aren’t close relatives. However, both hail from the town of Katsina in northern Nigeria and have known each other since childhood, when they were raised together in the 1960s. A. L. Yar’Adua spent almost all of his career at the Kaduna refinery, managing it from 1996 to 1997 and again between 1999-2000 before taking over as boss of the Integrated Data Service, NNPC’s geophysical department. A.L. Yar’Adua has been in charge of refineries for NNPC since 2003 but could be take on new duties in an expected shake-up of NNPC’s management in coming months. First Alliance. The British group Afren, which is chaired by former OPEC secretary-general Rilwanu Lukman, was the first company to form a tie with members of the Yar’Adua family. Earlier this spring, Afren penned an agreement with the Nigerian oil concern Independent Energy to take part in financing the marginal Ofa field, which Independent Energy won earlier in the present decade. One of Independent Energy’s executives is Murtala Yar’Adua. The Indian-Russian group Suntera has also forged ties with the Yar’Adua clan. Headed by Steve Lowden in London, Suntera teamed up with the Nigerian group Gas Transmission & Power on OPL 905. The group is headed by Babangida Hassan Katsina, cousin of the new president and son of major-general Hassan Usman Katsina, who was governor of the northern region of Nigeria

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