Thursday, 31 July 2008

Return Of Onne Seaport Mafia

The Onne seaport Mafia dislodged by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime in 2004 is currently staging a bruttal comeback.

Onne seaport is Nigeria's second largest seaport situated in Rivers state. It comprises of a Federal Ocean terminal(FOT), a Federal lighter terminal(FLT) and an export free zone(FZ).

The port complex is home to two Nigeria customs service Area commands, namely: Rivers state customs Area command 11 and Onne free zone command.

These attributes eminently situates the seaport as the major import/export outlet servicing the oil and gas sector of the economy and the ever busy Onitsha and Aba commercial nerve centres.

These activities have in recent years given rise to the emergence of a mafia, masquerading as an association of clearing and forwarding agents, who organize import and export rackets of all kinds. These rackets range from evasion of import duties to smuggling of prohibited goods and arms running.

As the mafia grew in strenght and influence due to a huge war chest of slush funds at its disposal, it became a threat even to the government of the time, prompting the immediate past Administration to clip its wings in 2004 by flushing out its plants in strategic Customs and Ports Authority positions, through whom these rackets are perpetrated.

Well placed contacts in Onne seaport informed chidi opara reports that the mafia are seriously planning to stage a comeback, due to the exit of the immediate past Comptroller-general of Customs, whom we reliably learnt had a potracted battle with them. The comeback plan chidi opara reports can now reveal is being financed by a former Customs comptroller, who served in Onne seaport as Area Comptroller. The Edo state born former Comptroller, our contact revealed, had a case with the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), but was let off the hook because of his closeness to a Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP) top notcher from his state. The plan according to another contact, which involves the installation of the former Comptroller's business front, a middle aged male clearing and forwarding agent from Mbaise in Imo state as a chapter chairman of a major clearing and forwarding Association in Onne seaport is being co-ordinated by a wealthy Portharcourt based clearing and forwarding agent from Isiukwuato area of Abia state, said to be very close to a retired Major-general from his state.

A security contact in Portharcourt informed chidi opara reports that "our bigmen are on their payroll". We learnt further that some prominent traditional rulers, National Assembly members and Editors of some influencial main stream news media are also on the payroll of the mafia.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Faces Of Power In Nigeria

Mohammed Said Abubakar111, the sultan of Sokoto, is a first class traditional ruler, the head of the highly influential Sokoto caliphate and the spiritual leader of the moslem faithfuls in Nigeria. The President clears with him on major policy decisions.

Rtd. General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida is a fomer military President of Nigeria, reputed to be one of the richest Nigerians. He is also reputed to have the largest network of influential loyalists in all spheres of life, especially in the military and security services. Babangida recently hijacked the leadership of the Senate through his loyalist, David Mark. The President always tap into his influence to get difficult state assignments done.

Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki is the progenitor of the influential Saraki political dynasty of kwara state and founder of the nascent but influential northern union(NU), whose first son and daughter are governor and senator respectively. Saraki's northern union is a counter force to the equally influential Arewa Consultative forum(ACF). The President often differs to him on major policy decisions.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Defence And Diplomatic Sources Insist Yar'Adua Invited British Military

The recent interview granted a Nigerian daily newspaper by the President's chief Publicist, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi to the effect that the President, Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua have not at any time contemplated inviting the British military to help curb the restiveness in the Niger Delta region, have been described by Defence and Diplomatic sources as an exercise in grand deception.

chidi opara reports have been informed by a well placed Diplomatic source in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city that "Mr. Yar'Adua actually approached Britain for military assistance at the G8 summit". This request, according to a Defence source also in Abuja, "resulted in the signing of the military assistance agreement in London".

When we sought to know why the Presidency spokesman engaged in this kind of deception, a source in the office of the National security Adviser informed us that "the information is necesary for the success of the operation".

It will be recalled that chidi opara reports recently published a news report titled "Niger Delta Militancy; Britain Considers Unorthodox Security Options", in which we divulged that the military assistance Britain may offer to Nigeria may be in the area of "unorthodox security operations" namely: "Precision hits", in which targeted militant leaders would be assasinated using special aircrafts fitted with sophisticated cameras and rifles, and "Snatch operations", in which specially trained troopers will storm militants camps to kidnap targeted militant leaders. These operations we reported then may be code named "Operation baby hawk".

A Defence Attachee in one of the embassies in Abuja whom we contacted on phone for comment, informed us that the President's chief Publicist's recent news briefing "may be a strategic damage control measure taken because of the leakage of the operation".

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Britain To Nigeria: "Dance To Our Tune Or No Military Assistance"

Indications point to possible directions of Nigeria's foreign policies from the seat of British government in London.

This revelation came from a source close to a member of the delegation that accompanied the Nigerian President, Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua to London recently on official visit.

chidi opara reports gathered that the Nigerian President, desperate to enlist the support of Britain, Nigeria's former colonial master and an influential player in international politics to fight the problem of "blood petroleum", an alias for stolen petroleum, so as to boost the dwindling revenue base of the African oil producing nation, necesitated by the activities of petroleum stealing syndicates, had agreed to all of the British Prime Minister's conditions, one of which was to support British view points on major international economic and political issues, especially those on Africa.

The British Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, according to our source, had blamed African countries like Nigeria and South Africa for the refusal of the Zimbabwean leader, Mr. Robert Mugabe, to negotiate power sharing with the country's opposition leaders. "Mr. Brown was not happy with our non challant attitude to the Zimbabwean crisis", the source volunteered further.

We also gathered that the British Prime Minister made it clear that his government will only be willing to sign agreement with Nigeria if the Nigerian government refuses to recognise the government of Mr. Mugabe, to start with.

chidi opara reports can now report that the Nigerian President was only too willing to accept all the conditions, whereupon, an agreement for military assistance to manage the Niger Delta crisis was signed.

We could not so far ascertain what the other conditions were, a source in the British high commission in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, however, informed us that "the conditions are favourable to both parties".

It will be recalled that immediately the Nigerian President returned to Abuja, the Presidency issued a statement dissociating the Nigerian government from the government in Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Niger Delta Militancy; Britain Considers Unorthodox Security Options

In the wake of threats to British interests in Nigeria by Niger Delta militants, following Britain's offer to help Nigeria to curb unrest in the restive oil rich region, authorities in Britain may be considering unorthodox security options.

A strategically placed source in the British diplomatic mission in Nigeria informed chidi opara reports that the options being considered may be "Precision hits" and "Snatch operations". These operations may be code named "Operation baby hawk".

"Precision hits", according to our source involves assasinations of targeted militant leaders using special aircrafts fitted with sophisticated survillance cameras and rifles, while "Snatch operations" will involve using specially trained troopers to "storm and pick up" targeted militant leaders from their camps.

Our source further averred that military analysis of the Niger Delta situation indicate that there cannot be an effective full scale military operation against the militants in the creeks without "severe damages to human, material and enviromental resources". The only options available, the source concluded, are unorthodox ones, "but Nigerian military and security forces do not have capacity for these options".

Already, a specially trained officer in unorthodox security operations is due to arrive Nigeria soon to assess the operational requirements of "Operation baby hawk". chidi opara reports also learnt that there may be collaborations between British, French and United States Of America(USA) secret services in the execution of these operations.

It will be recalled that for years, the USA secret service, the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY(CIA), was carrying out an unorthodox security operation it code named "Renditions", which involved the kidnap of suspected insurgency groups leaders, whom they take out of their countries of residence for trial without going through exraditon process. Even when the news media and civil rights groups exposed this operation, there was denial, untill the President of USA owned up to the illegality.

A senior security source we contacted for comment informed us that "nations apply unorthodox security options when necesary".

Monday, 14 July 2008

High Pitch Preparations In Nigeria's Militants' Camps

Following the promise of Mr. Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister, to offer unclarified assistance to the Nigerian government, to curb what he called lawlessness in the Niger Delta region, there have been high pitch preparations in the camps of the main militant groups in the region.

The British Prime Minister, according to news media reports had made the offer of assistance following a plea made by the Nigerian President, Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua at the recent G8 meeting, to World leaders to discourage dealings in stolen crude oil, likening it to stollen "blood" diamond. A substantial quantity of crude oil from Nigeria to the International markets come from illegal crude oil bunkering, a polite name for crude oil stealing.

The offer of assistance which necesitated the call off of the unilateral ceasefire by the MOVEMENT FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF NIGER DELTA(MEND), chidi opara reports learnt, is a threat not being taken lightly by the major groups in the creeks of Niger Delta.

Our contacts inside the main militant groups reported high pitch preparations in the camps at Nanabie, Igbomina, Doulse Island, Okerenkeko and Ekeremuo. chidi opara reports learnt that large quantities of arms and ammunitions hidden in various coastal villages are now being moved to locations that will make them easily accessible, "incase of any eventuality".

At the Doulse Island camp one and two run by Mr. Tom Ateke, our contact reported the presence of about seven witch doctors preparing charms for the fighters. Stockpiling of bottle water, beverages and foodstuffs, as well as cleaning and oiling of rifles were also reported.

At Igbomina, our contact reported the presence of two white males in their forties in training sessions with the militants on the use of ground to air anti-aircraft missiles. Militants in Nanabie camp, according to a contact, are kept busy with unarmed combat training sessions.

Reports from our contacts in Ekeremuo and okerenkeko camps indicate "an atmosphere of readiness". Militants in these camps are said to spend hours drinking, singing and dancing, with occassional gun shots into the air.

Contacts close to Boyloaf, MEND's second-in-command and Tom Ateke, informed chidi opara reports that "the gods of Ijawland are ready for Britain".

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Radar Detected Approach Of Bonga Attackers An Hour Before Attack

When recently the MOVEMENT FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF NIGER DELTA(MEND), sailed for about 125 nautical miles into the Atlantic Ocean to launch attack on one of Nigeria's largest offshore crude oil production platforms, operated by the Shell petroleum develoment company of Nigeria(SPDC), the information fed to the general public was that the attack was a surprise one.

The stifling of information about what actually happened on that fateful day continued when at the summon of SPDC senior officials and the leaderhip of the nation's security by the House of Representatives committee on Petroleum, SPDC officials according to news media reports, told the committee that there was no radar and other equipments for detecting movements towards and arround the platform. SPDC officials at the meeting went further to inform the committee that the regular security patrol boats were withdrawn prior to the attack because of an impending naval exercise.

Information reaching chidi opara reports from sources inside SPDC, indicates that these misinformation was at the prompting of the security chiefs, so as not to lose their jobs and also to avoid probe into a possible collaboration with the attackers.

Our source insisted that there was, prior to the attack, a state of the art radar and other monitoring devices that could easily detect approaches to the platform from any angle.

chidi opara reports was reliably informed that SPDC emergency response team "became aware of the impending attack atleast an hour before". When the approach of the attackers was detected, radio messages, according to our source, were sent to all SPDC major locations and to Shell international major locations arround the world. The joint taskforce on security(JTF) patrol team arround the platform were also contacted. "But for reasons best known to them, they did not strike". We also learnt that an SPDC helicopter ran two shuttles "to evacuate essential staff" from the platform, but could not land on the third trip, "because the attackers were already onboard.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Henry Okah Sings; Oil Majors Panic

Panic has griped Nigeria's crude oil major partners namely: Shell, Chevron, Elf, Agip and Mobil, following the recent decision of the embattled leader of the MOVEMENT FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF NIGER DELTA(MEND) to say all that transpired between the militants, the Nigerian government and the oil majors in the recent past years. Henry Okah is currently standing a secret trial for treason at a federal high court in Jos, capital city of plateau state.

Already, following revelations made so far in the court by Mr. Okah, the immediate past president, Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo, the managing director of Shell Nigeria and the Chief of Army staff have been supoenaed to come and explain their roles in procurement of arms and ammunitions in the immediate past years. Some of these arms ended up in the camps of Niger Delta militants.

Ths supoena is however, not the main source of panic. The panic, according to well placed sources in the oil industry is as a result of fear that if Shell is pushed too hard, it may implicate other oil majors.

chidi opara reports was reliably informed that the creation and maintainance of the monster which the Niger Delta militancy have turned out to be was not only by politicians as the public was meant to believe. "The big oil companies contributed a good percentage".

A source who was a member of one of the main militant groups in the Niger Delta region, told us that "Oil companies led by Shell was paying us money as protection fees". "Half of this was paid with arms and ammunitions".

We gathered that when Okah's wife made reference to implicating materals in her husband's posession, the government and oil majors were not bothered because it seemed impossible to them that their transactions with the militants would be on record. "They therefore ignored her bluff".

chidi opara reports can now report that Okah, became very desperate as a result of government's insistence to continue his trial in secret and the apparent failure of Ijaw leaders and militants to get the government to have a rethink and "decided to release the first bombshell". This first bombshell, according to a source close to the Okah defence team, are recorded conversations between senior government and oil companies officials and leaders of Niger Delta militant groups. Henry Okah according to our source, hopes to use these records to show that contrary to what the prosecution is alleging against him, it was actually the government and oil majors that armed the militants. "My brother the evidence is very implicating", the source concluded.

The panicky oil majors we learnt, have started reaching out to their contacts in the top echelon of Nigerian judiciary, many of whom are informal legal consultants to them, to prevail on the trial judge to soft pedal on the issue.

chidi opara reports also learnt that frantic efforts are being made by these oil majors to reach out to Ijaw leaders to prevail on Okah to stop further revelations, promising to prevail on the government to consider the option of political solution.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Nigeria's Premier Refinery Stinks Of Corruption

The Portharcourt refining company(PHRC), a subsidiary of Nigeria national Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), the holding company responsible for the management of Nigeria's economic mainstay, petroleum, is stinking with corruption.

The main function of the refinery as the name entails, is to refine petroleum products for internal consumption. Reliable inside information reaching chidi opara reports however indicate a systematic sabotage of this main function by a combination of PHRC and NNPC senior managers, aided by some influencial oil sector operators and Politicians.

The complete repair of the refinery, "which would have raised operational capacity to a considerably high level", would have been effected by now, if not that this cabal who are profiting immensely from the status quo "keeps advising the government otherwise".

The crudes to be refined locally are most times, according to our source, sold at higer prices at the international market, and imported into the country as refined products, "since the refinery according to them cannot be repaired". This system, our source insists, ensures that there is enough money to be diverted into private pockets and business for members of the cabal who are importers of petroleum products.

Another antic of this cabal is delay in delievery of imported premium motor spirit(PMS). We were informed that imported PMS are expected to be high octane gasoline(HOG), with minimum scientific rating of ninety-two to ninety-four percent RON. This would be blended with an intermediate product called naphtha to get larger quantity of PMS with acceptable minimum RON of eighty-two to eighty-five percent. These delays are designed to ensure that when these products which come with less than eighty percent RON, are finally delievered, they would be accepted, due to the fact that the depot tanks would have been almost empty and there would be need to prevent product scarcity. This racket ensures that PMS of lower quality is accepted in place of that of higher quality paid for.

chidi opara reports gathered that due to this blackmail, the refinery tanks as at june 27th, 2008, had less than 1.5 million litres of PMS. "This quantity was to last for a maximum of two days". When the PMS was eventually delievered on 29th june, 2008, "it was lower in quality than what was paid for", a senior PHRC engineer whispered to us.

We could not so far establish contact with PHRC or NNPC public affairs departments for comments, as repeated calls to their telephone lines published on the Internet could not go through. We will however, publish their reaction if received.