Apparently embarrassed by the claim of Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that a senior United States official had disclosed that a former Minister under President Goodluck Jonathan stole $6 billion Nigeria’s oil money during the official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari few weeks ago, the United States on Saturday, requested that the name of the US official, who made the disclosure, be made public.
A top US official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said at the appropriate time, the US would question Governor Oshiomhole on the comment attributed to him in the Nigerian media.
He stated further that President Barrack Obama was working on the request of President Buhari, who had sought for the assistance of the US to retrieve monies stolen by Nigerian officials.
According to him, Oshiomhole was trying to pre-empt the US, which would certainly publish names of those who looted Nigeria’s oil money in no distant future.
He added: “As of now, Obama is putting the necessary machinery in place to assist Nigeria’s President to curb corruption and other vices in the country.”
On July 26, after the return of President Buhari from the US, Governor Oshiomhole had told State House correspondents, after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of former President Jonathan had destroyed the country.
Oshiomhole, who was on the entourage of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States, said: “The PDP destroyed the country. I mean from the lips of American officials; senior officials of the State Department said one Minister under PDP cornered as much as $6 billion. The man said, even by Washington’s standard, this is earth-shattering.
“So, the PDP is a party that presided over the liquidation of our nation, destroyed all our institutions, converted the Armed Forces commanders to use them, as if they were political thugs, converted the Nigerian Television Authority to a party megaphone, destroyed the Department of State Services, went after opposition, as if we were rabbits to be pursued into holes, compromised even student unions, destroyed everything that you can think of, and elevated religion to a state affair.
“Under the party, Israel became a place you visit every week; they placed pastors against mallams, placed the North against the South, the East against the West, just to retain power; elevated Obas and Obis with dollars. You guys (journalists) were reporting dollars that were changing hands; when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was spending much more money than was available to the Federation Account.”
He had added: “We are a very patient people. If we were not a patient people, anybody wearing the tag of PDP ought to feel very unsafe because you are all victims – all of us here. Mr. Johnnie Carson, who was the Assistant Secretary of State, when we visited him in company with Senator (Bukola) Saraki, then as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum – that was at the eve of President Obama’s first visit to Africa – and we went to complain, ‘why is Nigeria not on the list?’
“What he said, for me, was quite instructive compared to what he said last week. Then I was present when he said ‘you know, we, who see ourselves not just as friends of Nigeria, each time we think there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is time to encourage Nigeria to build on it, you would wake up the following day under President Jonathan to find out that even the tunnel had been removed.
“Those were the words of Mr. Carson. Now last week, this same Carson chaired the President’s address at the Institute of Peace, and he said ‘we now have a man of enormous integrity; one that has shown so much faith in the democratic process; one that refused to be frustrated even in the face of massively-rigged elections.
He submitted to the judicial process, and even when that was compromised, he never gave up. America has done its check, and we are convinced that this President is the one that Nigeria needs at this time to regain its leadership of the African continent.’”
Oshiomhole added that he got information from top U.S officials on how some Nigeria politicians diverted oil money into their personal accounts.
There were speculations that President Buhari was further energised when he was told about the degree of theft of Nigeria’s money by the previous administration that he made up his mind to embark on probing the administration. It is believed that President Buhari embarked on massive overhaul of the Nigerian oil industry as a result of information now at his disposal on how Nigeria’s oil money was stolen.
The U. S Department of State official, who does not want his name mentioned at present, said that the country is making moves to question the source of Oshiomhole’s information.
The source revealed that: “We are taking a serious step when the time comes to question the said governor to explain where he got the tip-off. President Obama is still working on the request of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in helping him recover stolen funds. Already, the Homeland Security officials are on ground to do their jobs.
The U.S official criticized Oshiomhole for making the statements credited to him, saying: “The governor must have been pre-empting the US move to help Nigeria publish names of those who stole her oil money. At the right time, US officials will issue a press statement concerning the matter.”