Abubakar Malami

Nigerian Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, refutes crude oil theft allegations

Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, referred to claims that 48 million barrels of crude oil worth $2.4 billion were missing as untrue and unsupported yesterday.

You may recall that the House of Representatives ad hoc committee looking into the matter had asked Malami to come before it to address the complaints against his office and threatened to have him arrested if he failed to do so.

Malami, who yesterday appeared before the committee led by Mark Gbillah, took his time to inform the committee members of the specifics of the situation and refuted the accusations.

He described how in 2016, when rumors regarding the missing oil abounded, President Muhammadu Buhari requested his opinion on the subject.

Malami, however, asserted that some circumstances showed insufficient justifications for the claims.

He further said that the Federal Government had detained some of the whistleblowers while others fled to distant Mexico.

“Let me state on the record and for the benefit of Nigerians and the committee that the allegations relating to the 48 million barrels are without foundation,” he added. The accusation is baseless, without substance and merit.

The claim in and of itself lacks any plausible justification for a substantial suspicion strong enough to call upon the constitutional protection of the committee.

“Why do I think that? In 2016, social media occasionally became saturated with hyped-up accusations. There have been claims that 48 million stolen barrels of Nigerian petroleum worth $2.4 billion were found in China.

President Muhammadu Buhari publicly asked the attorney general to look into it and offer advice, mentioning my humble self, Mele Kyari, the late Abba Kyari, and Lawal Daura, a former director general of the DSS.

But regrettably, you need a few key details to have a plausible basis for suspicion.

As the meeting came to a close, Ibrahim Isiaka, who presided on behalf of the committee chairman, said that Malami would be invited back later within the following week once the panel had time to review the materials that had already been provided.