By Israel Chukwumaeze
In 1999 Atiku Abubakar was nominated by the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as chairman, National Council on Privatization. The government had decided to sell various state-owned assets to private companies to raise bonds, and also in exchange for equities in certain international brands. What followed next was the worst kind of privatization sales ever to be experienced in human history.
Multi-billion dollar public investments were sold at derisory prices to his and Obasanjo’s cronies. As Head of National Council on Privatization (NCP), from 1999, Atiku dug Nigeria’s economic grave for today’s extreme poverty and unemployment.
There were over 600 Federal assets when NCP began auctioning sales. To name but a few:
Transcorp Hilton Hotel
NICON Luxury Hotel
Sunti Sugar Ltd
Bacita Sugar Ltd
To those marketing Atiku, let me remind you of the senate public hearing of August, 2011 which succinctly captured how Atiku through a retinue of of cohorts, fronts, shell companies, ring fenced over 70% of Federal government’s assets through brazen daylight robbery he supervised in the name of privatization.
In 2007, Onigbolo Cement operating at 500,000 tonnes per annum was sold to Dangote at N1.7Billion
ALSCON which Nigeria built with $3.2 billion, was sold to a Russian firm, Russal, for $130million. As of the time of sale, ALSCON had received $120million for the dredging of Imo River, but was never done.
ALSCON had been given $120million for the dredging of the Imo River, but this was never carried out. Russal and Atiku disappeared with the money.
The Igbos are complaining about the dredging of the River Niger, but only few remember that the ALSCON deal was supposed to dredge the Imo river, which is easier and more economically viable than the Niger river because it flows into the Forcados river which is a major tributary of the River Niger. Atiku and Russal disappeared with the money till date. Same persons who are the sufferers of this evil acts are now campaigning for the same Atiku.
When the Senate Seating of August, 2011 asked the Russian company the whereabouts of the $120million meant for dredging, the company’s Deputy Managing Director, Vitaly Kuzrestov, alleged that the money had been used for “Environment Impact Assessment.” In order, if the $120m is taken into account, it’s safe to say that a $3.2 billion dollars company was sold for a pantry sum of just $10 million!
FG’s Five percent share in Eleme Petrochemical worth $27 million was never presented to the National Council on Privatization before the company was sold to Indorama.
Under Atiku’s watch, the Vaswanis Brothers ‘cheated’ Nigeria by short-circuiting due process, under a company called Avolon, to acquire Germany’s 51 percent in Volkswagen. According to presidency sources, it was a breach of the pre-emptive rights of the federal government of Nigeria stated in section 151 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990.
Atiku liquidated NAFCON in 2005 for the sole purpose of selling it to O’Secul Nigeria Limited, owned by his James Ibori friend for $153m.
Delta Steel which was set up in 2005, at a cost of $1.5billion, was sold to Global Infrastructure for just $30million without entertaining any bidding as stipulated by the law, Atiku claimed that it is in the best interest of Nigerians. He ignored all recommendations from BPE and due process to sell Delta Steel Company to Global Infrastructure instead of the winner of the bidding process, BUA Group.
In fact Oby Ezekwesili attained celebrity status when she insisted due process must be followed to curb Atiku and Obasanjo’s excesses, in a move that later earned her the nickname “Madam Due Process”.
Atiku literally dashed DAILY TIMES of Nigeria, to the Anosike brothers (Noel and Fidelis Anosike). According to court records, Atiku did not privatize Daily Times in the true sense of the word. Daily times’ assets worth over $3b was used to secure a mortgage that paid for the take over. In other words Atiku packaged Daily times to sell and bought it himself. Once the assets was stripped, Atiku took off with the Anosike brothers to the next unlucky company
Nigeria’s Assets fell into the sinister hands of waiting carnivores who devoured our collective destinies for 5yrs, under Atiku’s reign as NCP chairman, Nigeria was held hostage, thoroughly stripped, beaten and milked dry of its fortunes in a once in a lifetime scam called Privatization and concessioning.
Kaduna refinery was concessioned to Blue Star under Atiku’s privatization. The CBN governor as at that time swore an affidavit that the $250m paid by the consortium never got into the federation account. An asset of the state sold while the money just vanishes into tin air, just like that.
In 2010, the US Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigation released a detailed report of how Atiku wired $40 million from offshore companies to US accounts allegedly controlled by him and his wife, Jennifer Douglas.
Atiku was also implicated in the Halliburton scandal that led to the imprisonment of American congressman, William Jefferson.
In 2007, the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, forwarded charges made by Nigeria’s anti-corruptions body Atiku to the senate. He had helped divert $145m from Nigeria government accounts to banks. Some of the money was then “fraudulently converted as loans” for three companies connected to the then vice-president in the person of Atiku Abubakar.
Today, Atiku, whose tasks among numerous others was to oversee the privatization of National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) to ensure that Nigeria overcame her epileptic power supply problem which was the biggest threat to economic growth, now owns one of the biggest industrial generator manufacturing company in Nigeria, MIKANO. What an irony I must say that he killed NEPA to create market for his MIKANO Generators
This is who the PDP would rather have us believe is coming to rescue, uplift, rebuild and unify Nigeria.
Nigerians WAKE UP, 2023 is not the year of trial and error or re circling our former mistakes.
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