Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Wednesday said she was being persecuted for stepping on big toes while ridding the petroleum sector of corruption.
She equally declared that she had not sought for assistance from anywhere to protect her name as reported in some dailies, because she has not been indicted for committing any crime.
The petroleum minister, who fielded questions from State House correspondents, said she had done her best for Nigeria and attained many firsts in the history of oil and gas especially in the reforms carried out by President Goodluck Jonathan's administration.
"In this period of time, I have stepped on many big toes, particularly the feet of the cabals that were in the industry when we came in. Because I have said severally that we will open up the industry to all Nigerians and we have, but that is not to the pleasure of certain cabals.
"And I have been continuously maligned because of this and we have taken millions and in fact billions of Dollars out of the hands of fuming multinationals and their subcontractors and put them in the hands of Nigerians through Nigerian Content," she said.
On Federal Allocation and Account Committee (FAAC) asking Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to refund money, the petroleum minister explained: "The PriceWaterhouseCooper forensic audit that was done a few weeks ago in his recommendation mentioned that $1.48bn was owed by NPDC for a block that had hitherto been assigned from the NNPC to NPDC, which is its subsidiary, and they felt that the right process would be that NPDC will refund that money to the federation account."
She added that NPDC had apparently started refunds, and in discussion with NNPC and DPR on the same issue.
On the reports that her meeting with Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar was to save her name and protect her from some of her actions while in office, she told journalists that Abubakar had already addressed the issue and called it unnecessary mischief.
She tasked the media to do its research properly and deal with the facts.
The petroleum minister noted: "I have the privilege of meeting with many senior statesmen during the course of my job in the federal executive council and I was surprised that he should be singled out in any such form. The short answer is no.
"I have not sought such assistance because I am not aware that I have been indicted of any crime that I will need a soft landing.
"Over the last four years, I have been severally and unfortunately accused and labelled in so many malicious and vindictive ways. I have explained these things and pushed back robustly on these accusations and I have even gone to court on many of them, yet they keep being regurgitated.
" And I think it is unfortunate, particularly when we are moving into a transition period and looking forward to an incoming government which is coming to take over where we have ended. For everything that has a beginning there is an end and that is not a surprise.
" What is the surprise is the sort of malevolence bothering on personal malicious libel to my person during this period of time. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have come into the oil and gas industry because of our reforms.
"Quite frankly, I think as unprecedented as it is, it does not please everybody and that cannot be helped but let us remember the unprecedented reforms that have happened in the oil industry during our time, such as major gas reforms, the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been completely revised, reformed and put into the hands of members of the National Assembly where it has languished for two years in the National Assembly.
"In that bill are all the reforms needed to tear NNPC apart, make it a National Oil company, an equity share company through transparency, accountability and responsibility and reduce corruption in the industry.
"We did all these and we put them in place to reduce corruption so for me to be tagged with various tags of corruption, $10 million jet purchases, who buys jet for $10 million dollars for goodness sake? And $20 billion missing money for which PWC had done a report and the $1.48 billion which is not missing, which is actually money transferred by the NNPC to NPDC which is a subsidiary and NPDC has actually started making payments under my directives.
"I have said during our time that there are gaps in the NNPC and I said that openly. But I can also say that there is no time in Nigerian history in the oil and gas that NNPC has been as open and audited as it is today.”
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