Former Vice President and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar says he has documentary evidence of the illegal deals that had gone on in the state-owned oil company, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

Atiku, who is challenging President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 16 presidential election, said this on Wednesday while answering questions on his plan to sell the NNPC at the Island Club in Lagos where he delivered a lecture.

This could be a hint that if elected, he could prosecute those who managed the affairs of the NNPC.

“I have a documentary evidence that in one instance, the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC wrote a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari seeking to withdraw $1.1 billion from the profits of the NLNG which should normally go to the federation account.

“The president, without seeing the memo – I didn’t see his signature and I know how memos and approvals in the presidency are handled - and then there was another letter from the presidency approving the requests of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC to withdraw the $1.1 billion,” he said.

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“The senate president knows about this. They are still investigating it. Now, this is money that should have gone to the federation account, but they are withdrawing it without getting the necessary approvals.”

Abubakar then told the audience that the level of corruption in Nigeria’s oil and gas can only occur in an economy that is not driven by the private sector, adding that it is in the best of the country to privatise the sector.

“You cannot get this kind of thing in a private sector-led economy. So, it is in the best interest of the people of this country to reform the oil and gas sector.

“And this is not to say that we will not have an interest, we will have an interest, but the private sector will be the driving force as far as the oil and gas sector is concerned,” he said.

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