The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says he divulged a letter which a former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and now Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, wrote to former President Goodluck Jonathan on oil revenue theft in order to check corruption.
Amaechi said the claim that he ‘clandestinely’ leaked the letter was not true. Sanusi had on Wednesday claimed that Jonathan threatened him for writing a letter to inform him (Jonathan) that $49bn was missing from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Sanusi said that Amaechi, who was then the Rivers State governor, had confessed to leaking the letter.
In a statement issued by his media office on Thursday, Amaechi said that to suggest that he “surreptitiously, clandestinely or underhandedly ‘leaked’ the CBN governor’s letter is indeed most unfair, disrespectful and uncharitable to his person.”
The statement added that Amaechi revealed the content of the letter because he believed that the level of corruption during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan was too high.
The statement read, “To put the records straight, we want to categorically state that a concerned and patriotic Nigerian, who felt troubled with what was happening then, gave a copy of the Sanusi’s letter to Amaechi in Amaechi’s capacity as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. Like Amaechi, we should appreciate that concerned Nigerian’s patriotism.
“When Amaechi got the letter, he spoke to Sanusi who was still the CBN governor to confirm the authenticity of the letter. Sanusi confirmed to Amaechi that he wrote the letter.
“During their conversation, Amaechi made it abundantly clear to the then CBN governor that the looting of the nation had to be stopped and that all non-remitted funds should be remitted and that he (Amaechi) was going to use the letter to do whatever was in the best interest of the nation and Nigerians.
“This was the stoppage of the non-remittance and the recovery of all the non-remitted funds from oil sales. The CBN governor didn’t agree with Amaechi on the way forward.”
The statement said owing to the fact that the letter was given to Amaechi as the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, he shared the letter with his colleague governors first, and with Senator Bukola Saraki (now Senate President), who was doing some investigation on the oil sector in the Senate.
The statement said in leaking the letter, Amaechi was propelled by his patriotic zeal to put Nigeria first and to do what was in the best interest of the nation.
The statement added, “Around that period, a delegation from the United States’ government, specifically from the offices of the secretaries of state and defence visited Amaechi in Port Harcourt to discuss the issue of oil theft in Nigeria.
“From their records, they gave Amaechi figures of billions of dollars (about $7bn annually) that was being lost to oil theft in Nigeria. They were discussing the issue and the figures of oil theft, and that was how the CBN governor’s letter to former President Jonathan came up.
“In the presence of journalists covering the visit, Amaechi brought out the Sanusi’s letter and showed the visiting American delegation to buttress the point that Nigeria was losing far more money to the non-remittance of proceeds from oil sales into the Federation Account.”