Insists he lied against their late father
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
The family of late former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwan Lukman, has accused the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, of lying against their father in an affidavit he filed before the Commercial Court of England the ongoing legal tussle between Process and Industrial Developments Limited, P&ID, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The family decried that Malami had in a bid to set aside the $9.6billion judgment debt against Nigeria, falsely alleged that their deceased father who was a two termed Secretary-General of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, abused his powers as then Minister of Petroleum Resources under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua in awarding the Gas Supply Processing Agreement, GSPA, to P&ID for personal gain.
In a letter they personally addressed to Malami, the family, said it was “despicable” that the AGF, in witness statements he filed before the English Court, called into question their late father’s integrity, knowing that he would not be able to defend himself.
Stressing that the late Petroleum Minister offered selfless service to the nation notwithstanding his ill-health, the family maintained that Malami must apologize to them or be ready to face a curse.
The letter dated August 31 but received by the Federal Ministry of Justice on Tuesday, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard last night, read:
“The family of late Dr. Rilwanu Lukman has noted with contempt your witness statements filed in the Commercial Court of England in proceedings between Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) and the Federal Republic of Nigeria falsely alleging that Dr. Rilwanu Lukman (deceased) abused his powers as the then Minister of Petroleum Resources under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua in awarding the Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) to P&ID for personal gain.
“It distresses the family that such false accusations of reprehensible criminal conduct leveled against Dr. Lukman by you, and we can’t be quiet anymore about this issue. It is despicable that you have engaged in your witness statements to call into question our father’s integrity, years after his passing, on what appears to be only an ill-founded and opportunistic suspicion.
“You preyed on the fact that our father cannot defend himself, to create some defense to claims brought by Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) against the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“To set the record straight, we wish to state that our father had accepted re-appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources for selfless reasons, when his health was very poor and against the wishes of his family. He did not need to line his pockets, being a lucky man after a lifetime of professional success, having regard to his principles and standing locally and internationally, we are certain our father would never take or instigate any bribe, or exercise any discretion given to him in the GSPA, for his benefit.
“We, thus, a state in the strongest terms that the claims made against our father by you are false, disreputable, speculative and an example of unprofessional and destructive conduct aimed at damaging the memory and public reputation of a diligent public servant, with an unblemished international reputation as a two termed OPEC Secretary-General, who spent some of his final years, whilst battling cancer, serving the Nigerian people as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
“While we remain dedicated to transparency in public office, the public has a right to know that our father- Dr. Rilwan Lukman was an honest, principled man who tried to do his best for the Nigerian people and certain that he was not involved in any corrupt dealings.
“It is unfortunate when public officers resort to personal and unfounded attacks on people whom they know for reasons of death cannot defend themselves against such distortions and misinformation.
“Please convey a second to think about what you have done to the Rilwanu Lukman’s family. You owe us an apology. If this is something you think you are not up to, then, I am sorry to remind you of the divine curse and the anger of Allah (S.w.T) against liars mentioned in SURAH AZZUMAR 39:3: “Surely Allah will judge between them in that wherein they differ. But Allah guides not such as are false and ungrateful”, read the letter signed on behalf of the family by Ramatu Lukman.
Meanwhile, a frantic effort by Vanguard to get a reaction from Malami proved abortive.
However, a source close to his office said it would be contemptuous for the AGF to comment on the matter that is already pending before a competent court.