A coalition of Civil Society organisations (CSOs) said on Sunday it has uncovered a fresh plot by embittered oil thieves to blackmail, smear, and tarnish the image of the group chief executive officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mallam Mele Kyari.
The CSOs, consisting of 42 different organisations, said the move by the oil thieves, whose businesses have been truncated by the recent stoppage of payment for fuel subsidy by the Federal Government and the total war declared by the Kyari-led NNPCL against oil theft and pipeline vandals, is to disinform and set Nigerians against the national oil company and its top officials under the false pretext of fighting for the public interest over the temporary pain being experienced as a result of the subsidy removal.
A statement signed by Abubakar Ibrahim, convener; Bashir Faisal; and Comrade Rafiu Shaibu, co-conveners, of the 42 CSOs, noted that, having failed in its several bids to malign him, it has now engaged some faceless, fictitious, and unknown groups to gather in the streets and cause public disturbance in the name of protest calling for the removal of NNPCL GCEO.
While calling on security agencies to beam their searchlights on these groups and their sponsors, their CSOs urged Nigerians to ignore the noisemakers who are playing the cards of their corrupt, fraudulent oil crooks who have milked Nigeria dry for their personal gains.
Part of the statement reads: “Nigerians will recall that first, these corrupt oil marketers and crooks sponsored fake news on social media in June that the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had sacked the hardworking GCEO of the NNPCL, Mallam Mele Kyari.
This narrative, however, “didn’t fly, as officials at the Presidency later debunked it as fake news.
“Defeated in their desperate bid to nail Kyari, this set of characters finally came out in human form, CSOs said.
“They soon issued a statement signed by a controversial and failed politician who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) hobnobbing with PDP politicians, calling on the Tinubu administration to arrest Kyari and heads of other agencies of the Federal Government under the Buhari administration.
Days after this drama, several unknown and faceless groups flocked to the internet, clamouring for Kyari’s removal.
“Not done, another self-acclaimed political activist joined the fray, and as expected, nothing changed.
“Not desirous of backing down on their ill-fated venture, they have now contracted a faceless and unknown group to mobilize innocent Nigerians to the street with a paltry sum to achieve their motives, CSOs said.
“It’s however interesting that Kyari’s sins are his stance and fight against some sudden oil billionaires who are milking the country’s resources with the continuous payment of fuel subsidies by the federal government and also through crude oil theft.
“We understand their frustration and pain, but they should know that it’s no longer business as usual. They can no longer divert our common wealth. Rather, these resources will be used to create more jobs and make Nigeria better.
“They can no longer divert and smuggle petroleum products to neighbouring countries where they sell at higher rates and thus make more profit even after collecting subsidy money from the Nigerian government.
“The era of some people feeding fat on our common wealth is gone. We don’t have any other country; Nigeria is our own, and we must join hands together to make it work.
“Therefore, the incessant attack and vituperation against the NNPCL and its GCEO cannot stop the good works he (Kyari) is doing.
“It’s laughable that they are calling for the removal of a man who has restored the glory of the national oil company. A man who brought transparency, accountability, performance, and excellence into the company by returning the NNPC to a profit-making entity after several years of operating at a loss.
“Unfortunately, Nigerians are wiser. They know your games, but they have failed even before they were hatched.
“Since Kyari assumed office even as the group managing director of the defunct NNPC, he has operated a very transparent system, CSOs said.
“Several times, he has opened the books of the oil company for public scrutiny.
“Nigerians should also know that for the first time in over 40 years of its existence, the NNPCL under Kyari is beginning to win the war against corruption in the system, pipeline vandalism, and oil theft, which has led to a major increase in daily oil production, reaching 1.6 million barrels per day.
“Nations and investors all over the world are beginning to win the confidence of the NNPCL courtesy of the great innovations introduced into the system by Kyari.
“We further use this medium to call on the security forces to investigate these faceless groups and their sponsors, who are bent on killing the nations with lies and hatred in their bid to loot the economy,” CSOs noted.