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.