ABUJA — The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to back off on his administration’s legal battles against the principal actors in the controversial Malabu Oil deal.
The raging scandal over the OPL 245 oil block began in 2011 when the Goodluck Jonathan administration approved its purchase by Shell and Agip-Eni from Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd., a firm with ties to Dan Etete, Nigeria’s petroleum minister from 1995 to 1998.
The Jonathan administration officials who participated in the negotiation preceding the controversial sale of the massive oil block included Mohammed Bello Adoke, Attorney-General at the time; and Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was petroleum minister.
In his letter to Mr. Buhari, Mr. Malami said, following due examination of the case files, he was able to determine that the EFCC has no significant evidence to prove its allegations of sharp practices against prominent players like Bello Adoke, Diezani Alison-Madueke and others.
Besides, Mr. Malami said, the Nigerian government risks being portrayed before the international community and foreign investors as an unserious country that could not be trusted to live up to its obligations to international partners.
“Clearly, potential investors will not have the confidence to invest in Nigeria if the government of the country is perceived as one which does not honour its commitments,” Mr. Adoke said of the OPL 245 oil deal.
The September 27, 2017 letter advised the president to pursue Nigeria’s possible investment in the disputed oil blocks rather than trying to repossess it or prosecute former government officials or Shell or Agip-Eni chiefs involved in the deal.