CNN threatened with sanctions over Nigeria oil corruption claims

This article is over 2 months old Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki toll gate investigation is inaccurate Nigeria’s government has threatened CNN with sanctions after the US broadcaster reported…

CNN threatened with sanctions over Nigeria oil corruption claims

This article is over 2 months old

Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki toll gate investigation is inaccurate

Nigeria’s government has threatened CNN with sanctions after the US broadcaster reported that its anti-corruption unit was questioning the country’s head of oil wealth.

News of the CNN report follows a raid by security officials in February on the Lagos headquarters of state oil company NNPC, which was widely reported to be investigating a Lagos toll gate at a refinery belonging to Africa’s largest crude producer.

News of the March interview with NNPC’s chief operating officer (COO), Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, by the anti-corruption unit (Safa) caused a stir in Nigeria, ahead of next month’s presidential election.

The Sala, according to Nigerian media, ordered investigations into allegations Kachikwu took bribes in return for awarding gas supply contracts, and did so with the knowledge of President Muhammadu Buhari, who made integrity a core campaign promise.

In a statement dated 15 February, CNN said its article was based on government sources and that “Buhari’s national security adviser and his customs and immigration boss have been summoned to appear before the Sala to discuss the existence of this information”.

“Following CNN’s report, the presidency have confirmed that CNN possesses no original evidence that the NNPC has been engaged in corruption. The administration reserves the right to impose sanctions on any media organisations that continue to conduct journalistic activities that are directed against Nigeria,” the statement added.

Kachikwu was quoted in Nigerian media as saying that the interview had been “taken out of context”.

Nigeria is very sensitive to any allegations of corruption, and this adds to accusations that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been slow to investigate such claims.

In a statement issued on Friday, the NNPC denied that allegations of corruption against the COO had been brought by the Sala. “The NNPC has never been served any such allegations by any government authority, including the Sala,” it said.

Nigeria is under pressure to protect its oil wealth. It has won a landmark legal battle against Shell over the take-over of assets from another oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, following the 2012 fuel tanker explosion.

A London court ruled on Thursday that the Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group in the oil-producing Niger Delta region that has been destroying pipelines, was acting illegally in the execution of its declaration of a six-month ceasefire, although the country’s criminal court president has begun an investigation into the events.

The government has said that it is prepared to provide relief to protesters in the Niger Delta, which exports most of Nigeria’s 2.2m barrels of oil per day, including the extra 750,000 barrels it pumps daily following shut-ins by militant groups.

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